February 13, 2018
For Immediate Release:
K’JIPUKTUK/HALIFAX, NS – At the February 13th Dalhousie Board of Governors (BoG) meeting, the Board approved a motion regarding a third-party-conducted search for fossil fuel-free investments options. The search, conducted by an external financial consultant, will investigate all existing funds and managers capable of initiating an investment strategy that aligns with the recommendations found in the Senate Report on Fossil Fuel Divestment.
The student-led campaign Divest Dal has been calling on the university to divest its endowment fund from the top 200 fossil fuel companies since 2013. The Dalhousie BoG voted against divestment in 2014, but since then Divest Dal has worked with the Dalhousie Senate and an ad hoc Senate committee on divestment to move forward on divestment. Following a nine-day campout on the Dalhousie quad in November 2017 in protest of Dalhousie’s investments in fossil fuel companies, Divest Dal was able to address the BoG at the November 29th, 2017 meeting. At the same meeting, student Board representatives put forward a motion proposing the third-party fund search be voted on at the following meeting.
Alex Ayton, the Divest Dal member who addressed the BoG in November and student representative on the Senate ad hoc committee on divestment states: “This fund search is the crucial first step towards changing our investment strategy and aligning it with our institutional values. We know divestment is possible and we hope conducting this fund search will make it clear to the Board that divestment is possible at Dalhousie, too. Students have worked hard on this motion and we’re glad it was passed. We’ll continue to hold the Board accountable and continue to advocate for a commitment on divestment.”
Another Divest Dal member, Laura Cutmore, explains why the timing of this vote is important: “This is an exciting moment for the Canadian divestment movement. The first two Canadian universities committed to full fossil fuel divestment last year and today’s decision is an important step forward towards divestment at Dalhousie. At the recent Dal 200 launch, President Florizone mentioned that Dalhousie was modeled after the University of Edinburgh – a university that committed to full fossil fuel divestment just last week. On the 200th anniversary of the founding of our university, we have the opportunity to make history and show true leadership on the most important issue of our generation.”
Editor’s note: further to this news release, Divest Dal posted the following message on Facebook:
This is an important moment for Divest Dal and the entire Canadian divestment movement. Add your support by contacting President Florizone and telling him you want Dalhousie to commit to divest.
The forces working against divestment at this university are strong, so we need your support. If you’re in Halifax, join our team. We meet every Wednesday, room 1107 in the Mona Campbell building. All are welcome!