In August 2015, President Hurley charged the President’s Council on Sustainability (PCS) – which is comprised of faculty, staff, and students – to further look into the subject of fossil fuel divestment and to compile a report.
Faced with the challenge of climate change, how should the University of Mary Washington, which aims to be a statewide leader in sustainability and the environment, respond? As a liberal arts institution, UMW should place its primary focus on equipping students with the scientific literacy and critical thinking skills needed to address future climate-related problems. But many UMW students are also insisting that their university take more of a leadership role in response to the climate crisis by divesting its foundation from major fossil fuel companies.
The objective of this report is to provide a comprehensive, research-based assessment of whether or not the University of Mary Washington should officially divest from fossil fuels.
Each of the following sections answers a question in the charge. Taken together, the report gives an assessment of possible risks and/or benefits, as well as an assessment of possible ethical implications, of divesting or not divesting.