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PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release

November 24, 2014

DIVEST DAL TO UNIVERSITY: “MAKE HISTORY OR BE VILIFIED BY IT”

Students urge Board of Governors to divest from fossil fuels

Halifax – In preparation for tomorrow’s vote on fossil fuel divestment, Dal students sent a bold message to the administration: divest now, or remain complicit in the climate crisis.

“If it’s wrong to cause climate change and wreck our future, then it’s wrong to invest and profit from that wreckage,” says Evelien Vanderkloet, member of Divest Dalhousie. “Today we’re telling the university, again, that if they want to live up to their claims of leadership in sustainability, they need to divest from fossil fuels.”

“If the university commits to divestment tomorrow, we’ll celebrate their commitment to effective climate action. If they don’t make that commitment, to me that’s them saying they’re comfortable with being an accomplice in the greatest injustice of our time.”

Over the last year and a half, Divest Dal has written a number of reports for the Board of Governors Investment Committee about the financial benefits of divestment. These reports were researched and compiled by members of the group with extensive economic education from Dalhousie and other universities.

“We’ve given the BoG everything they need to divest – economic arguments, moral imperatives, opportunities to say yes,” says Vanderkloet. Divest Dal is supported by the Dalhousie Faculty Association, the Dalhousie Student Union, and has over 2000 petition signatures. “If they don’t commit to divestment tomorrow, it will show they’d rather buddy up to a dying industry than follow the lead of Dalhousie’s brightest minds in calling for fossil fuel divestment – they’d be holding us back.”

This isn’t the first time divestment has come up at the university. Dal divested from South African companies in 1987 to combat racial apartheid. That was done on moral grounds and sent a signal to companies about the abhorrent injustice that was apartheid. “Let’s be clear: apartheid was a horrific and systematic injustice. We see climate change in the same light – it hurts people in every country all over the world, and exacerbates existing problems like racism and poverty,” says Vanderkloet.

“If Dal commits to divestment tomorrow it would pave the way for other universities and institutions to divest. If they really want fulfill the ‘bold ambitions’ they keep talking about, we’re handing them an opportunity on a silver platter,” says Vanderkloet.

The BoG investment committee has written a report and a recommendation that will be presented tomorrow, and the BoG as a whole will vote to accept the motion. “We want the authors of that report, and every voting member, to know that any decision other than to divest is a message to us and to their children that protecting our future just wasn’t worth it.”

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Contact: Bethany Hindmarsh (902) 209 3222 // Emi Belliveau (902) 440-9399

For more information, BoG-IC reports, and petition updates, see divestdal.ca

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