Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, May 24, 2024

Open letter to Peter Dolan, chairman, and the Board of Trustees of Tufts University

Dear Peter Dolan, chairman, and the Board of Trustees of Tufts University,

As you may have heard, around the time of your meeting this past Saturday morning, around 80 students gathered to show their support for fossil fuel divestment. This diverse coalition of students rallied from the Campus Center up to the pillars of Ballou Hall as speakers reiterated the moral imperative of divestment, reminding us that our investments in fossil fuels are a vote of support for industries that fuel injustice around the world. The week leading up to the rally, hundreds of students wrote what they stand to lose as a result of climate change on slips of paper. We linked these slips into a chain that we crossed over the doors of Ballou Hall. We demand that you strengthen and protect this chain, not break it.

At Tufts, fossil fuel divestment has been endorsed by the student body through thousands of petition signatures and a public referendum, hundreds of alumni and 45 faculty members so far. When you had the opportunity to make Tufts a leader on this issue, you chose not to, instead rejecting divestment. We cannot, and will not, accept no for an answer. You told the Tufts community that divestment would not be considered at this time, but this issue cannot wait any longer. Now is the time.

With the crushing significance of this international movement in mind, we demand that the Board take the following actions, and see no reason why you would fail to do so.

  1. We ask you to re-engage with Tufts Climate Action and the Tufts community to discuss complete divestment from fossil fuels in a formal, democratic and public setting.
  2. We ask you to reach out to Cambridge Associates, the biggest endowment consultant in the United States, which has offered to connect investors with fossil fuel free managers and sustainable reinvestment strategies.
  3. We ask you to reach out to peer colleges and universities, many of which are also considering or have previously rejected fossil fuel divestment, to create a commingled fund that is fossil fuel-free. The institutional members of the Talloires Network and the earlier Talloires Declaration, organized by Tufts’ leadership to strengthen universities’ civic, social and environmental responsibility, can serve as excellent tools for beginning that process. We ask that Tufts do this to reduce the costs and difficulties of managing funds on its own.
  4. Finally, we request that a Tufts administrator or trustee attend the Intentional Endowments Network’s Mount Holyoke Conference on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. The conference will explore the construction of “intentionally designed endowments,” which “involve aligning investment portfolios with institutional mission, values and sustainability goals, without sacrificing returns.” Having a Tufts representative at this event would help our school explore reasonable and effective divestment strategies while also allowing us to communicate more effectively with other schools pursuing the same goal.
Tufts should take this opportunity to create an investment strategy that better reflects its values. Our mission statement reads: “Tufts is a student-centered research university dedicated to the creation and application of knowledge. We are committed to providing transformational experiences for students and faculty in an inclusive and collaborative environment where creative scholars generate bold ideas, innovate in the face of complex challenges and distinguish themselves as active citizens of the world.” Divestment is a bold idea that tackles the complex challenge of climate change. Tufts Climate Action wants to use the collaborative environment of our university to work with you, the Board of Trustees, to distinguish ourselves as active citizens of the world by taking a stand against fossil fuel industries.

With love,

Tufts Climate Action