There are many changes that we, the UChicago Climate Action Network (UCAN), would like to see on our campus. We demand that UChicago be held accountable to the needs of people and the planet rather than the interests of big donors, and we call for increased transparency around financial and administrative decisions. More specifically, we believe that UChicago must follow the precedent set by such institutions as Yale, the University of California, and the Rockefeller Foundation, by divesting from fossil fuels rather than continuing to profit from environmental destruction.
Student Government elections provide a powerful opportunity to assess the needs of the UChicago community and elect students who represent our values. We want to vote for candidates who share our people-and-planet-first vision, see the need for enhanced accountability and transparency, and have the experience to enact bold changes. After assessing the various campaigns, we have decided to endorse the United Progress for UChicago Executive Slate and Kenzo Esquivel for the Undergraduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees.
Simply stated, United Progress for UChicago promises to make our University a better place for students. Their platform calls for the creation of a socially responsible investment committee to ensure that “while we are paying large sums of money for an invaluable education, we aren’t complicit in corporate investments that endanger lives and our climate.” Furthermore, the three candidates on the slate have the experience—as leaders in student government, workers on campus, undergraduate and graduate students, and community organizers—to make their vision a reality.
In his campaign platform for Undergraduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees, Kenzo Esquivel is demanding powerful reforms to the way that UChicago’s governing body interacts with the students, faculty, and workers it oversees. He plans to publish updates on the Board’s recent activities, fight for a socially responsible investment committee, and allow for a variety of student groups, including our fossil fuel divestment campaign, to make their cases to trustees. Esquivel’s experience in Student Government as current Vice President for Student Affairs and former Community and Government Liaison proves his unmatched understanding of the needs of our student body and demonstrates his success at working with administrators.
We’re excited to see experienced campus leaders take on new positions in Student Government to realize our values through meaningful reforms. We believe that United Progress for UChicago and Kenzo Esquivel will amplify our voices—as students, as workers, as a community organizing group—to create a UChicago that hears and acts on our needs.
—UChicago Climate Action Network