Student support and faculty voice vital for fossil fuel divestment
by Kate Brunette
In the last 30 days, the Fossil Free AU campaign has taken off, starting with collecting over 600 student signatures in favor of fossil fuel divestment and ending with an Undergraduate Senate resolution officially endorsing the goals of this campaign.
At the same time, student groups as varied as social justice groups to faith organizations to Greek life have pledged their support for the campaign.
In conjunction with this student movement, faculty and alumni have also joined the campaign to advocate for a Fossil Free AU.
Throughout this process, Fossil Free AU has remained consistent and reasonable with our demands for the Board of Trustees. First, we ask the Board to adopt a negative screen on fossil fuel investment at the next Board meeting in May. A negative screen would prohibit any new investments in fossil fuels but would not affect the current endowment.
Second, we ask the Board to open an official University dialogue on divesting the entire endowment from fossil fuels. We understand that this second step is a long-term process to make smart financial decisions that reflect our values and promote our education.
Looking forward, the conversation surrounding Fossil Free AU will continue right up to the Board meeting in May. In the next week, students will have the opportunity to vote on a referendum to express their support or opposition for the demands stated above. The faculty will have the opportunity to take an official position on the issue, and alumni will remain engaged with 50 Days of Fossil Free, highlighting alumni in the countdown to the May Board meeting.
Fossil Free AU hopes to continue to engage the campus community in a way that promotes healthy dialogue about matching our finances with our values.
Kate Brunette is a junior in School of International Service and the president of Eco-Sense.