We have a victory to celebrate that’s years in the making: the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees voted earlier today to divest from any company or investment fund whose primary business is in oil, coal, or natural gas, from exploration and extraction to pipelines and transportation.
This is the culmination of years of efforts by students, faculty, and staff to get Rutgers to take concrete action toward the goal of climate justice. Our student allies organized a broad coalition to bring the call for divestment before the two boards. In last fall’s RUSA elections, students voted by an overwhelming 90 percent margin in favor of “divestment in fossil fuel companies and investment in clean energy by 2030.”
Our union’s advocacy goes back years. We organized alongside students for the September 2019 Global Climate Strike, which brought 700 students, faculty, and community members out for a rally and march through the streets of New Brunswick. We endorsed the Green New Deal at that time, and last December, our Executive Council added to the pressure on the administration with a resolution calling for divestment (the text of this resolution was included in the packet distributed to trustees and governors before the vote). Last summer, our union played a leading role in advocating for the American Federation of Teachers to become one of the first unions to endorse the Green New Deal.
We’ve issued a media statement celebrating the vote and the years of organizing that brought it about. Click here to read the statement, including quotes from AFT President Randi Weingarten, 350.org founder Bill McKibben, and our colleague Naomi Klein, renowned for her climate justice advocacy.
Having greened its portfolio, Rutgers is now in a position to green its campuses. Divestment can be a stepping stone toward a broader vision that we share with students and the community of decarbonization at Rutgers. We want all of Rutgers’ electricity to come from solar panels installed over parking lots, on roofs, and throughout our communities. The university needs to go the full mile now and become a campus driven by renewable energy that supplies carbon-free power to vulnerable communities, including our neighbors in Newark, Camden and New Brunswick. Our climate justice committee is organizing to achieve this; email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to participate.
Todd, Becky, and David
Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
David Hughes, Treasurer, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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Find the latest messages to members and union statements here.
Watch Todd’s video on the battles for our union today.