University of Michigan
News for Faculty and Staff

October 23, 2017

Senate Assembly resolution on divestment committee

November 16, 2015

Senate Assembly resolution on divestment committee

Topic: Campus News

A Resolution To Support The Formation Of An Ad Hoc Committee To Determine The Propriety Of The University's Investments In Oil And Coal

(Approved by the U-M faculty's Senate Assembly on Nov. 16, 2015)

WHEREAS, The University has a long-established procedure for determining whether a certain set of investments is appropriate for the University to hold in its endowment; AND

WHEREAS, that procedure begins with the formation of an Ad Hoc Committee comprised of students, alumni, faculty, and administrators assembled in order to gather information and formulate recommendations for the Regents' consideration; AND

WHEREAS, the University has an established standard for forming such a Committee which - as summarized by the Office of the CFO - requires that (1) the concern to be explored must express the broadly and consistently held position of the campus community over time; (2) there must be reason to believe that the behavior or action in question may be antithetical to the core mission and values of the University; and (3) there must be reason to believe that the organization, industry, or entity to be singled out may be uniquely responsible for the problems identified; AND

WHEREAS, the University has twice before determined that a set of investments meet this standard - first with companies doing business in apartheid South Africa, and second with tobacco companies; AND

WHEREAS, a consensus on campus regarding climate change is demonstrated by statistical data from the Graham Sustainability Institute, the academic and extracurricular pursuits of the student body, the research and teachings of the faculty, and the administration, operation, course offerings of the University, and the passage of a resolution by the Central Student Government; AND

WHEREAS, sustainability is a core value of the University, as evidenced by its inclusion in the University's vision statement, the academic and extracurricular pursuits of the student body, the research and teachings of the faculty, the administration, operation, and course offerings of the University, and the three working groups around sustainability created by President Schlissel; AND

WHEREAS, the core mission of the University includes preserving and applying academic values; AND

WHEREAS, there is reason to believe that the nature of oil and coal - as the most greenhouse gas intensive forms of energy on the planet - is fundamentally antithetical the University's core value of sustainability, and that the actions of the oil and coal industries - in undermining the scientifically proven link between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming for the purpose of economic gain - is antithetical to the University's core academic mission; AND

WHEREAS, there is reason to believe that the oil and coal industries are uniquely responsible for climate change due both to the inherent nature of their products and to their decades-long campaign to prevent action on addressing climate change in order to perpetuate reliance on their products; THEREFORE BE IT

RESOLVED, that the Senate Assembly believes that the University's standard for forming a Committee to gather information and formulate recommendations about whether a certain set of investments is appropriate for the University to hold has been met as to the oil and coal industries; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, that the Senate Assembly believes that because the University's long-established standard has been met, the Regents should form such a Committee; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, that the Senate Assembly believes that the Committee should not be charged with considering divestment from diversified commingled funds (such as mutual funds) that aren't specific to the oil and coal industries; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, that because it is the role of the Committee to come to the conclusion of whether the University should ultimately divest, this resolution does not address that question; AND BE IT FINALLY

RESOLVED, that the Senate Assembly believes that the composition of the Committee should be similar to the Committee on Tobacco Investments, which included four professors*, one undergraduate student, one graduate student, one administrator, and one alumnus.

* Although specific wording was not submitted during the meeting, the Senate Assembly voted to amend this resolution to reflect that half of the faculty serving on the committee represent faculty governance.

Comments

Thomad Hogarth
on 11/17/15 at 2:48 pm

Dump coal and oil investments now.

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