An Open Letter

from the Faculty of Northeastern University

Calling for Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry

80 Signatures to Date

We, the undersigned faculty of Northeastern University, call on the administration to join the growing number of schools, municipalities, religious institutions, and other organizations who have committed to fossil fuel divestment. Specifically, we urge that Northeastern immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and divest within five years from direct ownership from any funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds.

As discussed in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, we are now witnessing the increasingly devastating effects of a rapidly changing climate: record heat waves, droughts, floods, famines, the loss of biodiversity, and extreme weather events like superstorm Sandy. Unless significant steps are made to move the world economy away from fossil fuels and restore the vitality of ecosystems that serve as carbon sinks, the disruptions to the climate will only worsen. In fact, the American Association for the Advancement of Science warns that “the well-being of people of all nations [is] at risk.”

Meanwhile, fossil fuel companies remain excessively profitable, and own over $27 trillion in proven oil, gas, and coal reserves — more than five times as much fossil fuel as scientists think is safe to burn. They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress, effectively halting clean energy progress and securing their right to pollute the atmosphere. Furthermore, they have used their influence to induce skepticism amongst the media and the public, even though a broad consensus exists in the scientific community that anthropogenic climate change is already occurring.

As an institution of higher learning committed to the development of science and the betterment of humanity, we have a moral obligation to align our academic endeavors and business practices with the future of the planet. On many levels Northeastern is already demonstrating leadership in both the academic study and mitigation of climate change. Professors across almost every discipline are discussing, researching, and publishing about sustainability and climate related issues. We have made strides to green our campus by improving energy efficiency and reducing waste. Yet Northeastern University, like many other institutions, still invests a portion of its endowment in fossil fuel industries. We believe it is wrong to use our endowment to commission the destruction of a hospitable climate for our students, families, alumni, and ourselves. In short, it is inappropriate for Northeastern University to pursue an investment strategy that is contributing to an unlivable planet for its graduates.

 

Signed:

Christopher Bosso
Professor, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Director, Nanotechnology and Society Research Group
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Phil Brown
University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences
Director, Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Joan Fitzgerald
Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Brian Helmuth
Professor, Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences
Professor, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
College of Science and College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Sarah Jackson
Assistant Professor, Communication Studies
College of Arts, Media and Design

Matthias Ruth
Director, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Professor of Public Policy and Civil and Environmental Engineering
Director, MS Urban Informatics
College of Engineering, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Peter Sessa
Associate Academic Specialist
Director, Community Business Clinic
School of Law

Suzanna Walters
Professor of Sociology
Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Gina Maiellaro
Teaching Professor of Italian
Coordinator, World Languages Center Italian Program
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Lisa Worsh
Senior Cooperative Education Faculty Coordinator
Cultural Anthropology, Human Services, and Sociology
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Erika Koss
Assistant Dean for Strategic Partnerships and Outreach
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Stephen Nathanson
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy & Religion
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Rory Smead
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy & Religion
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Kostia Bergman
Associate Professor of Biology
Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies for Biology
College of Science

Jeffrey Juris
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Jade Zee
Assistant Teaching Professor
Associate Director, Behavioral Neuroscience
College of Science

Michael Tolley
Associate Professor of Political Science
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Mark Patterson
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor, Marine and Environmental Sciences
College of Science and College of Engineering

Val Moghadam
Professor, Sociology and International Affairs
Director, International Affairs Program
Director, Middle East Studies Program
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Ilham Khuri-Makdisi
Associate Professor of History
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Daniel Hudon
Lecturer, Physics
College of Science

Steven Vallas
Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Daniel Faber
Professor of Sociology
Director, Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Jaydeep Bardhan
Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
College of Engineering

Christopher Chambers
Assistant Teaching Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Serena Parekh
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Director, Politics, Philosophy, and Economics Program
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Stuart Peterfreund
Professor of English
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Susan Ventura
Associate Clinical Professor
Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education
Department of Physical Therapy, Movement & Rehabilitation Science
Bouvé College of Health Sciences

Lynn Currier
Adjunct Professor
Global Pathways/American Classroom
College of Professional Studies

Whitney Kelting
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Department of Philosophy and Religion
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Jennie Stephens
Dean’s Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy
School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Sharon Harlan
Professor, Health Sciences
Professor, Sociology
College of Social Sciences and Humanities and Bouvé College of Health Sciences

Somy Kim
Associate Teaching Professor of English
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Belinda Walzer
Assistant Teaching Professor of English
Director, Writing Center
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Karl Klare
George J. and Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law
School of Law

Lucy Williams
Professor of Law
Faculty Director of Public Interest and Pro Bono Initiatives
School of Law

Seth Mulliken
Assistant Academic Specialist
Media & Screen Studies
College of Arts, Media and Design

Prisca Castanyer
Visiting Lecturer in Economics
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Jackie Barnes
Postdoctoral Researcher, Game Design
College of Arts, Media and Design

Janet Randall
Professor of English, English Department and Linguistics Program
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Dana Brooks
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
College of Engineering

Gary Goshgarian
Professor of English
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Thomas Starr
Professor, Art + Design
College of Arts, Media and Design

Don Heiman
Professor, Department of Physics
College of Science

Chris Doty
Lecturer
Global Pathways/American Classroom
College of Professional Studies

Greg Hopwood
Adjunct Professor of Leadership Communications
College of Professional Studies

Rafael Ubal
Assistant Teaching Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
College of Engineering

Craig Robertson
Associate Professor
Media and Screen Studies
College of Arts, Media and Design

Williams Dickens
University Distinguished Professor
Department of Economics
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Mary Jo Ondrechen
Professor of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
College of Science

Inez Hedges
Professor of Cultures, Societies and Global Studies
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Janet Bobcean
Associate Professor, Theater
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Holbrook Robinson
Associate Professor of Cultures, Societies and Global Studies
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Penelope Taylor
Part-Time Lecturer, Visual Studies
College of Arts, Media and Design

Miriam Leeser
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
College of Engineering

Jude Mathews
Assistant Teaching Professor, Chemistry and Chemical Biology
College of Science

Nicole Aljoe
Associate Professor of English
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Brooke Foucault Welles
Assistant Professor, Communication Studies
College of Arts, Media and Design

Emily Fox-Kales
Lecturer, Department of Psychology
College of Science

Sarah Kanouse
Associate Professor
Media Arts, Interdisciplinary Arts
College of Arts, Media and Design

José Buscaglia
Professor of Cultures, Societies and Global Studies
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Moya Bailey
Assistant Professor, Cultures, Societies and Global Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Dennis Cokely 
Professor, ASL and Languages, Literatures and Cultures
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Daniel Aldrich
Professor of Political Science
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Daniel Noemi Voionmaa
Associate Professor of Cultures, Societies and Global Studies
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Mai’a Cross
Edward W. Brooke Professor of Political Science, Associate Professor
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Amy Barber
Visiting Lecturer, Communications Studies
College of Arts, Media, and Design

Brook Baker
Professor
School of Law

Stefano Basagni
Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
College of Engineering

Meryl Alper
Assistant Professor, Communication Studies
College of Arts, Media, and Design

Gillian Smith
Assistant Professor, Art + Design
College of Arts, Media, and Design

Noah Paessel
Part Time Lecturer, Information Design
College of Arts, Media, and Design

Melissa Wolter-Gustafson
Part Time Lecturer, English Department
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Mary Annas
Instructor, English
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Nicol McGruer
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
College of Engineering

Vaso Lykourinou
Assistant Professor, Chemistry
College of Science

Marian Leslie
Associate Professor, English
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Clark Freifeld
Lecturer, Program Director MS Health Data Analytics
College of Computer and Information Sciences

Sarah Finn
Assistant Teaching Professor, English
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Emily Avery-Miller
Assistant Teaching Professor, English
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

For more information, check out our fact sheet for faculty.

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