MHC Senate Votes in Support of Fossil Fuel Divestment

On February 21st, Mount Holyoke Senate voted in support of the Climate Justice Coalition Statement on divesting MHC’s endowment from fossil fuels. CJC presented at Senate last week to inform them of the Mount Holyoke campaign history, the drive behind fossil fuel divestment, and the financial aspect of divestment. The Senate was presented with two statements: the CJC statement, which stipulates a 5 year timeline in which MHC must divest, and the ad hoc committee statement, which asks MHC to divest with no specific timeline. They voted in favor of one of the statements, in favor of neither, or abstained from the vote. 95% of all senators were present for the vote.

The ad hoc committee was formed last year to review divestment and put together a statement in favor or against the issue. The statement supports divestment and it was given to the Board of Trustees for review last May. Below are the Senate vote results and statements:

Senate Vote on FF Divest

Mount Holyoke Climate Justice Coalition Statement

1. Immediately freeze new investments in the top two hundred publicly traded fossil fuel companies.

2. Remove investments (divest) from these companies over the course of five years.

3. Reinvest in socially responsible and sustainable alternatives.

Ad hoc Committee on Fossil Fuel Divestment


Mount Holyoke College acknowledges that the threat of global warming from continued use of fossil fuels poses serious environmental concerns. Fundamentally, the issue is one of social justice as climate change will have its most deleterious effects on peoples and countries that are least responsible for creating the problem. We recognize that the world must find a way to keep most of the remaining fossil fuel resources in the ground. This requires significant changes in investment strategies and political thinking. The status quo is no longer an acceptable moral option.

Therefore, Mount Holyoke College pledges to gradually withdraw its endowment from fossil fuels as appropriate investment instruments become available. We call upon all institutions of higher learning to join us in this effort. Our leaders in Washington, our investment fund managers, and indeed, financial and governing institutions globally, must be encouraged to find a new paradigm regarding energy and a sustainable future. Mount Holyoke College is committed to this future. 


If you would like to learn more about our campaign to divest Mount Holyoke’s endowment of fossil fuels, check out our article in Mount Holyoke Radix, our Facebook page, or email us at mhclimatejustice@gmail.com!

Mount Holyoke Climate Justice Coalition By The Numbers

Years active: 4

Hours of work: 500+

Number of MHC students who voted yes to divest from fossil fuels (in 2014 student referendum): 1,049

Percent of the faculty who support divestment: 92

Percent of the Mount Holyoke Senate in support of the CJC statement for divestment: 84% (93% of senators were present for the vote)

Number of teach-ins organized: 3

Number of organizing retreats and trainings: 12

Number of meeting locations over 4 years: 3 (you can now find us in the Mead Common Room on Thursdays at 8 pm!)

Number of student orgs with whom we have collaborated: 9

Number of coalitions/partnerships (with groups like the Seven Sisters Coalition for Fossil Fuel Divestment and the Responsible Endowments Coalition): 9

Number of banners painted and signs made: 5 and countless

Number of articles in on- and off-campus media about divestment at Mount Holyoke: 5+

Number of large protests attended: 6 (including Forward on Climate and the People’s Climate March)

Number of miles walked in climate protests: 100+

Number of CJC organizers arrested at XL Dissent: 6

Number of recent alumnae who were core campaign organizers when they were students: 10

Number of Google Hangout calls over 3 summers: ~52

Number of Facebook likes: 1,076

Number of Twitter followers (follow us!): 291

Number of Tumblrs (follow us here too!): 1

Number of WordPress websites (you’re here!): 1

Number of Mount Holyoke events where the incredible Naomi Klein spoke and endorsed the Mount Holyoke Climate Justice Coalition: 1

Number of meetings with administrators and trustees: 7

Number of trustees spoken to personally about fossil fuel divestment: 7

Number of meetings with the Board of Trustees Investment Committee at the headquarters of Barclays in Manhattan: 1

Number of meetings with financial advisors from Cambridge Associates (the company that manages Mount Holyoke’s endowment): 1

Number of MHC trustees working for the fossil fuel industry: (at least) 1

Years in a row CJC has been denied access to the May meeting of the Board of Trustees: 2


Hours of sleep lost worrying about climate change and the fact that Mount Holyoke still has not divested: countless

Love felt while working with inspiring human beings and deepening our analysis of the systemic injustices related to climate change: infinite


If you would like to learn more about our campaign to divest Mount Holyoke’s endowment of fossil fuels, check out our article in Mount Holyoke Radix, our Facebook page, or email us at mhclimatejustice@gmail.com!