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Dalhousie Faculty Association Urges University to Divest from Fossil Fuels
Halifax, NS – As Dalhousie University prepares to make a decision on fossil fuel divestment on Tuesday November 25th, the school’s faculty association has added its voice to the growing list of proponents. Dalhousie Faculty Association President Catrina Brown has sent a letter to the Chair of Dalhousie’s Board of Governors urging the Board to vote in favour of a proposal to divest the university’s endowment fund of investments in fossil fuel companies.
“Dalhousie is viewed as a national and international leader in environmental research, and we are proud that some of Canada’s top scholars in environmental science, environmental studies, sustainability and oceanography are DFA Members,” Dr. Brown said in her letter.
“With that in mind, it seems incongruous to us that our university should be investing its endowment fund in the fossil fuel industry, an industry which is largely responsible for the climate change which threatens our planet.”
The letter was the result of a decision by the DFA Executive Committee to support Divest Dal, a student-led campaign to make Dalhousie the first Canadian University to divest itself of fossil fuel investments. Divest Dal has called divestment a moral obligation, calling for the school to take action on climate change and act on environmental values it claims to hold.
Divest Dalhousie co-organizer Bethany Hindmarsh confirmed that the DFA executive endorsement represents a significant milestone for the Divest Dal campaign: “This endorsement, coupled with unanimous support for our campaign from the Dalhousie Students’ Union, demonstrates that faculty and students at Dal are united in calling upon our institution to live up to its own mission statement and its reputation as a leader in sustainability. We’re ready to work together to call upon the Board of Governors to make a decision that puts Dalhousie on the right side of history.”
The DFA agreed and pointed to studies showing that divestment would not negatively impact the university’s financial health.
“Shifting investments into more ethical industries could actually contribute to the growth of Dalhousie’s endowment funds. Given the growing public concern about the environment, particularly among young people, divestment could also help Dalhousie attract both students and alumni donations.”
Divestment is the process of removing investment holdings, in this case of the 200 oil, coal and gas companies with the largest proven fossil fuel reserves. There are over 300 current campaigns across North America calling for divestment at post-secondary institutions. While over a dozen universities and colleges in the United States have divested, to date none in Canada have begun that process. Dalhousie could be the first.
“We hope that the Board of Governors will make the right decision on November 25th and clearly demonstrate Dalhousie’s commitment to the principles of sustainability and social and environmental responsibility” Said Dr. Catrina Brown.
The letter can be read in its entirety on the faculty association’s website: http://dfa.ns.ca/news_items/dfa-supports-divest-dal-campaign
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