Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani is one of the signatories of the Stanford faculty letter. Photograph: Reuters
Faculty members call on university to recognise urgency of climate change and divest from all oil, coal and gas companies
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
Sunday 11 January 2015 07.57 EST
Three hundred professors at Stanford, including Nobel laureates and this year’s Fields medal winner, are calling on the university to rid itself of all fossil fuel investments, in a sign that the campus divestment movement is gathering force.
In a letter to Stanford’s president, John Hennessy, and the board of trustees, made available exclusively to the Guardian, the faculty members call on the university to recognise the urgency of climate change and divest from all oil, coal and gas companies.
Stanford, which controls a $21.4bn (£14.2bn) endowment, eliminated direct investments in coalmining companies last May, making it the most prominent university to cut its ties to the industries that cause climate change. Months later, however, the university invested in three oil and gas companies.
Campus divestment campaigns have spread to about 300 universities and colleges over the last few years, but are largely dominated by students. The Stanford letter was initiated by faculty, and signed by the first female winner of the prestigious Fields prize in mathematics, Maryam Mizarkhani, as well as the Nobel laureates Douglas Osheroff and Roger Kornberg, Paul Ehrlich, a population analyst, Terry Root, a biologist and UN climate report author, and others – 300 faculty members in total.