Environment featured

Letter: Dalhousie’s new Irving Oil Auditorium par for the course

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Stephen Thomas, energy coordinator at the Ecology Action Center, read the news about the most recent donation by a fossil-fuel company to Dalhousie University and he took to Facebook to express his displeasure and concern. We asked if we could republish it, and he agreed, although he felt it was  pretty unpolished. Sometimes unpolished is fine. 

So, this happened.

Dal accepts millions and names a new lecture hall “Irving Oil Auditorium” and calls it ‘progress’, ‘innovation’ and ‘leadership’.

The proposed Irving Oil Auditorium on the Dalhousie University campus

I wish I were surprised, or disappointed, but this is pretty par for the course at Dalhousie these days.

I studied in Dalhousie’s engineering faculty for five years. And then organized around the corporate capture of the university (and that faculty, in particular) by fossil fuel interests for another four.

Dalhousie parades as a ‘leader in sustainability’ with the amazing programming, staff and students in the College of Sustainability and its Office of Sustainability. But those important steps are compromised by the administration actively working against those same aspirations by continuing to invest millions in the fossil fuel industry, partner on its research, take ‘strategic investments’ from oil billionaires under back-door donor agreements, name school infrastructure after fossil fuel companies and shut out student voices.

Naming new buildings after the billionaire oligarch of Canada’s largest oil refinery and major beneficiary of the Energy East Pipeline is not ‘innovation’ or ‘leadership’.

It’s not ‘leadership’ to go out of your way to create an atmosphere where students dream about the future they’re going to help create that is funded by, named after and severely limited by industries of the past whose business models are in direct conflict with a livable planet for those students.

I’d say things are hopeless at Dal, but I’m filled with hope by the folks at Divest Dal who continue to organize against the corporate capture of their university and their futures.

Power to them 

See also: BP sponsors program on offshore exploration at the Discovery Centre

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  1. First I heard about this! UGH!!! And where are they going to put it? Dal and SMU NEVER should have consumed so much of the South End area like that! Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s are always willing to whore themselves out to the Canadian corporate establishment. Just disgusting!!!

  2. This is terrible. An independent organisation like a university should not have its buildings be named after a multinational that ruines mother earth.

  3. The Dalhousie Sexton Campus was in desperate need of new facilities, this is a fact. From donations like companies like Irving and Lindsay the engineering faculty was able to build these new facilities, facilities that will help students learn for decades. Oil and gas is the backbone of the Canadian economy and has brought enormous wealth to our country. If you don’t like the name don’t use it, don’t donate to Dal, go to another school, don’t support Irving. But, the majority of students will genuinely appreciate these new facilities, and will have great careers with the companies like Irving. This is great news, I can’t wait to have lectures in this new building

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