Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, May 23, 2018

After Board of Trustees said ‘No,’ AU students still invested in divestment

Fossil Free AU is committed to continue its advocacy for fossil fuel divestment, despite the Board of Trustees’ decision last semester to strike down divestment.

With the latest intergovernmental panel on Climate Change report, additional universities signing onto the divestment campaign, and increasing international cooperation on climate agreements, Fossil Fuel AU could find some use in continuing its push against the University to reconsider its decision, Wapner said.

“They recognize that symbolically this is important politics,” Wapner said. “Something has to give in this system if we’re going to get to a post-carbon world. I think divestment is doing fabulous work.”

AU students present at the open forum where the board of trustees’ decision was announced replied sternly to the decision for nearly 30 minutes, the Eagle previously reported.

“At that moment it didn’t really feel like a loss, it felt like a win, and looking around this room that’s really echoed,” said Katie Kirchner, a senior in the School of Communication. “Sixty people are here on a Thursday night when there is homework and classes.”

The group discussed the fuel-divestment campaign’s goals in their first general meeting of the semester on Jan 29.

“We have to make sure the Board [of Trustees] keeps talking about us because they think that by coming to a decision they are done talking about it,” said veteran organizer Audrey Irvine-Broque, a junior in the School of International Service. “And the reality is that the group of people in this room isn’t going to rest until they make that decision.”

School of International Service Professor Paul Wapner was the co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing, a committee of students, faculty and staff tasked by the administration to look into the question of divestment. Their report, recommending a gradual divestment strategy, was rejected by the administration.

Rachel Ussery, a freshman in the School of International Service, who was present at the forum where the board made its decision, said that the group is determined in their mission, even after that day.

“What happened in the forum was definitely a positive thing,” Ussery said. “When we came out of that, we weren’t discouraged, we were just more excited about what was going to come next.”

sbermas-dawes@theeagleonline.com


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