AS Considers Supporting Divestment From Fossil Fuel Companies for Environmental Reasons


Lily Cain
Associated Students Beat Reporter

A resolution was introduced at the Associated Students Senate Meeting on Jan. 30, which would give their support in divesting the University of California system from fossil fuel companies.

The resolution, which was introduced by Off-Campus Senator Ashley Koide, would have AS “call upon the Regents of the University of California, in its commitment to leadership in sustainability, to take [three] actions regarding the General Endowment Pool.”

“We are coming to you today to ask for your support in the campaign we are working on,” said Environmental Affairs Board Chair of Statewide Affairs Emily Williams. “We are not asking you to do a bunch of work, we are not asking you to help us rally students or anything, we’re asking just for your voice.”

If the resolution passes, AS would be proposing that the Regents not invest in any fossil fuel companies in addition to the ones the UC System is already invested in, sever all ties with fossil fuel companies within five years, and release quarterly updates “detailing the progress made towards full divestment.”

“This is a very progressive university, it is almost hypocritical in a way for us to be invested in fossil fuels,” said Williams.

According to the resolution, the UC system pledges its commitment to “responsible stewardship of resources and to demonstrating leadership in sustainable business practices” and to having a “net zero impact on the Earth’s climate.”

In the past, the UCs have divested from Sudan, South Africa, and tobacco companies in order to show that an institution invested in an industry is partly accountable for the impacts of the decisions and actions that industry.

Supporters of this resolution believe that by divesting from fossil fuel companies, the UCs will not be held socially accountable for the negative effects the companies have on global warming.

“I think it’s very exciting to see a coalition of student organizers on this campus taking the initiative, to actually come together and say this is the will of the students, this is what they want,” said AS President Sophia Armen. “Associated Students historically has really tried to be socially responsible with where our funds go because we as students should know more than anyone else exactly how we are impacted by social inequality in our society.”

However, there has been some opposition from people who believe divesting will not be a fiscally responsible thing for the UC system to do.

“I don’t want to pay $1000 or $2000 more because we don’t have certain investments or revenue that we get every quarter or every year,” said Chair of Finance Board Raul Martinez. “So I’d rather be socially responsible to students than the environment and a lot of that does have to do with the endowment.”

Despite the possibility of increased tuition, Williams believes this resolution is very important for UC students.

“I would argue that this is a human rights issue, this is an issue for future generations,” said Williams. “If our children and their children will have a safe, healthy world to live in, this divestment would not change the amount of money we are making off of it and any small risk I think would be outweighed by the environmental and health benefits.”

This resolution will be voted on at the next AS Senate Meeting on Feb. 6 after more information regarding which specific companies are involved and at what cost.