UBC’s Board of Governors is set to make its final decision tomorrow on whether the school should stay invested in the oil and gas industry, and students and staff are making a final appeal.
“We urge UBC to demonstrate the leadership that serious action on climate change – proportionate to the scale and urgency of the crisis – requires,” write campus divestment advocates in an open letter published today.
More than three quarters of UBC students voted for the school to ditch its fossil fuel investments in 2014, followed by about two-thirds of faculty in 2015.
“If a university board is going to overrule the referendum votes of both its students and faculty, you’re going to have to start asking who’s university is it?”
Leaders of the campus divestment movement say that recommendation was “fundamentally inadequate and flawed,” and are calling for the board to reopen the conversation.
Hemingway says he wants to see the school instead replace the committee’s recommendation with a more transparent process that involves students, staff, and administration.
“In the context of the ongoing governance crisis at UBC, it would actually be an incredible opportunity for the board tomorrow to get on a path of good governance, accountability, and to get on a path of climate leadership in Canada.”
The university has previously said that to dump its fossil fuel stocks would be financially irresponsible to its donors.
Several dozen Canadian universities have active divestment campaigns on campus, including SFU, and the University of Victoria where both faculty and students have also voted in favour of liquidating fossil fuel assets.
Concordia in Quebec became the first school to partially divest, though has so far only set up a $5 million renewable energy fund.