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Monday, August 15, 2022

UW-Madison Faculty Senate pushes for UW Foundation to divest from fossil fuels

The UW-Madison Faculty Senate passed a resolution calling for UW-Madison to divest from fossil fuel investments on Monday.

The resolution, which was originally proposed at their February 1 meeting and passed at their March 1 faculty senate meeting, urges UW-Madison to disclose their current amount of investments in fossil fuels, make a plan for the University’s full divestment and to work with the UW-Madison Office of Sustainability to reduce its carbon impact. The resolution passed in a vote of 149-13. 

The resolution cites the “intensifying climate emergency” and divestment efforts taken by other colleges — including the University of California system, Stanford University, Syracuse University, Cornell University, Georgetown University, Oregon State University and the University of Maryland — as reasons why UW-Madison needs to make a plan to divest.

“I’m a physician and I have been reading the climate change and public health literature now for quite a while,” said Dr. Bruce Barrett, a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, when the resolution was introduced at the Feb. 1 meeting. “[Climate change] is by far, in a way, the greatest threat to humanity, to civilization, to millions of other species on this planet and it makes no sense at all that a University of this stature would continue to invest in fossil fuels when we have to stop using them as quickly as possible or that we wouldn’t be able to look at our procurements and our impacts.”

In December, the student governance body the Associated Students of Madison passed a similar resolution in collaboration with the UW Divestment Coalition urging UW-Madison to remove their investments in fossil fuels. This joined ASM with nine other UW System student organizations in their efforts pushing for divestment.

Both resolutions further push UW-Madison to take action in developing a plan to divest. The Faculty Senate will meet next on April 5.

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