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The math is simple. In order for our planet to stay below 2°C of warming above pre-Industrial levels — an internationally recognized benchmark — 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. Recognizing this, we are calling on Stanford to divest its endowment from companies that extract coal, oil, or natural gas, and thereby contribute to the alarming pace of climate change. By pursuing fossil fuel divestment, Fossil Free Stanford and our fellow campaigns around the world are actively fighting for a better future.


Stanford is a leader in innovation and sustainability. Leland and Jane Stanford founded this university to "promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” By educating future leaders, our school invests so much in the future of our planet. Investing in fossil fuel companies at the same time is simply counterproductive. Let Stanford continue to invest in a just and sustainable future, while removing investments that would deny that future. By divesting from fossil fuels, Stanford can cement its status as a leader in the fight to build a better world.


It's time for Stanford to stop investing in the fuels that threaten our future. It's time for us to step up and be leaders of the movement for a clean, sustainable future, by going fossil free.


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divestment against apartheid


Divestment emerged as a powerful tool for social change during the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. Between the late 1970s and the early 1980s, protestors pressured major institutions to divest from companies operating in the country, seeking to threaten the financial support and the legitimacy of the regime.


The movement had a particularly powerful presence on Stanford’s campus. On May 9th, 1977, nearly one thousand Stanford students engaged in what has been called the “largest mass arrest since the anti-Vietnam protests.” Even after 294 students had been arrested in White Plaza, another 900 students showed up the next day to continue putting pressure on the university.

Similar efforts took shape on a variety of campuses across the globe. By the late 1980s, a hundreds of institutions had committed to divestment, including:

  • 155 colleges and universities

  • 200 businesses

  • 24 states 

  • 28 counties

  • 92 cities


Activists such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu acknowledged the crucial role that divestment played in ending Apartheid. Fossil Free Stanford is part of a movement that seeks to replicate this strategy against the oil and gas corporations of today.

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