50 staff sign Open Letter calling for Huddersfield University to sign ‘Fossil Free Declaration’

A group of 50 University staff, including 7 Professors, has lent its support to the student-led Fossil Free Huddersfield University campaign calling on the University to sign the Fossil Free Declaration, making a public Fossil Free commitment which refuses any future investment in fossil fuel companies. This call builds on the University’s recent statement that it currently screens its investments for fossil fuels.

Paul Ward, Professor in Modern History and
Head of the Department of History, English, Languages and Media said: “The University has recently stated that is does not invest in fossil fuels so it should not be a big ask for it to sign up to the Fossil Free Declaration enshrining this policy for the future. By making a public Fossil Free commitment Huddersfield would join over a third of UK Universities who have already committed to going Fossil Free. We call on the University to act now and show us to be a shining example of a Higher Educational institution. I’ve learnt through my study of the past, that it needs individuals and institutions to speak up to protect the future.”

Megan Bennett a postgraduate student at the University added “Huddersfield University has a moral responsibility to its students and staff to protect our futures and do everything in its power to tackle the threat of catastrophic climate change. Signing the Fossil Free Declaration would help stigmatise the fossil fuel companies responsible for climate change. The University is telling us that it already screens its investments for fossil fuels, which is fantastic news, so making a public commitment would just affirm what it is already doing. We are unsure as to why the University is reluctant to take this next step.”

Find out more about the Fossil Free Huddersfield University campaign at its Towards a Fossil Free Declaration meeting on Wednesday 6 December at 5pm in Huddersfield University Students’ Union.

Climate Emergency Fire Engine at Huddersfield University

Climate Emergency Fire Engine at Huddersfield University


Please see the full text of the Open Letter below, along with Huddersfield University staff signatories

Text of OPEN LETTER to the Vice Chancellor & University Council, Huddersfield University

As members of staff at the University of Huddersfield we are writing to express our personal support for the Fossil Free Huddersfield University campaign. The campaign has support from a wide base of students, alumni, staff and local residents. As an academic institution committed to scientific and intellectual rigour, it behoves us to respond to the evidence from the global climate scientific community and to offer the necessary forward-thinking climate leadership.

We are encouraged by the commitments the University has already made towards Sustainability especially regarding the University’s Ethical Investment policy:  “The University will not invest directly into organisations whose values do not reflect those of the University in regard to social, environmental and humanitarian concern. These would for example include but not be limited to: human rights abuse; discrimination on grounds of race, gender, disability, age or religion; serious and persistent environmental damage; arms trading”. We welcome the University’s recent public statement on its fossil fuel investments, clarifying the University’s position regarding the current screening of its investments for fossil fuels. 

The UK Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry
recently stated in Parliament that “70-75% of known fossil fuels must be left unused, in order to have a 50% chance of limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees”. The futures of our student population and, indeed, everyone on the planet depend on a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.  It clearly does not make good financial or ethical sense for Huddersfield University to have financial links with companies which are trying to extract even more unburnable oil, coal and gas. We therefore believe that Huddersfield University should sign the Fossil Free Declaration, making a public Fossil Free commitment which commits the University to refusing any future investment in fossil fuel companies.

We fully support and encourage the University’s commitments to reducing its own carbon emissions. However, in parallel with that we advocate that the University makes a clear public divestment commitment that it does not support the fossil fuel industry. The need for urgent action is clear. The climate crisis requires action on all fronts including: using our research and teaching to inform and enable change, reducing the University’s own carbon emissions, and making a public Fossil Free commitment by signing the Fossil Free Declaration. We very much hope that the University management will come to the same view.


1.       Hana Benesova , Research Assistant

2.       Alex Bridger, Senior Lecturer

3.       Jarek Bryk, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology

4.       Merrick Burrow, Head of English & Creative Writing

5.       Brendan Canavan, Senior Lecturer in Marketing

6.       Hilary Chadwick, Senior Lecturer, Architecture

7.       David Colley, Marketing & Recruitment Manager, Business School

8.       Geoffrey Cox, Lecturer, Department of Music

9.       Ildiko Csengei, Senior Lecturer

10.    Patricia Cullum, Principal Lecturer in History

11.    Ioanni Delsante, Reader in Urban Design in the School of Art, Design and Architecture and Departmental leader for Internationalisation

12.    Liam Devlin, Departmental Lead for internationalisation Department of Art.

13.    Lindsey Dodd, Senior Lecturer in Modern European History

14.   Graham R Gibbs, Reader

15.   Joe Hancock, PTHP Lecturer in Contemporary Art and Illustration

16.    Pam Hanley, Senior Research Fellow

17.    Jean Hatton, Senior Lecturer in Youth and Community Work

18.   Jeff Hearn, Professor of Sociology

19.   Fiona Hesselden, Research Assistant

20.   Stephen Hibbert, Lecturer

21.   Jackie Hughes, Senior Lecturer

22.    Lesley Jeffries, Professor of Linguistics and English Language

23.    Judith Kidder, Senior Lecturer, School of Education and Professional Development

24.    D E Kitchin, Department of Informatics

25.    Michael Klontzas, Department of Journalism and Media

26.    Jackie Lane, Senior Lecturer in Law

27.   John Lever, Senior Lecturer in Sustainability

28.    Jessica Malay, Professor of Renaissance Literature

29.   Dan McIntyre, Professor of English Language and Linguistics

30.   Alison McNab, Academic Librarian

31.    Julia Meaton, Senior Lecturer in Sustainability

32.    Carl Meddings, Subject Leader for Architecture

33.   Bridie Moore, Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance

34.    Jim O’Driscoll, Senior Lecturer in English Language

35.    Nigel Parton, Professor

36.    George Pearson, Sports Centre Assistant

37.    David Peebles Reader in Cognitive Science

38.   Malcolm Pollard, Head of Linguistics & Modern Languages

39.    Martin Purcell, Senior Lecturer

40.    Alison Ryan, Senior Lecturer

41.    Emma Salter, Senior Lecturer

42.    Robert Smith, Emeritus Professor

43.    Joanne Stead, Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy

44.    Katy Suggitt, Lecturer

45.    Gerald Swaby  Senior Lecturer in Law

46.    Ros Walker, Assistive Technology and Accessibility IT Trainer

47.    Paul Ward, Professor of Modern British History and Head of the Department of History, English, Languages and Media

48.    Graham Watts, Senior Lecturer

49.    Jade Whitson-Smith, Lecturer

50.    Stewart Worthy, Subject Leader for Music and Music Technology.

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