GU Fossil Free makes new strides with divestment proposal

On Wednesday January 11, six members of Georgetown University Fossil Free read a letter to encourage divestment from fossil fuels to the Georgetown Board of Directors.

The 5:00 p.m. meeting was preceded by a rally of the Georgetown undergraduate and law school community, who walked from Red Square to McShain Lounge, the location of the meeting. Crowd members held signs encouraging divestment, embodying stewardship to the environment, and adhering to our Jesuit values.

Included in the letter to the Georgetown Board of Directors was an outline regarding two unresolved issues from the prior meeting with the Board of Directors.

The first question addressed was how GU Fossil Free determined the companies it encouraged to divest from. According to GUFF, “The companies that hold the most carbon in their holdings which have the largest incentive to extract and burn these holdings.”

The second question addressed was in response to a request of the board to make a list of priorities regarding divestment; for example, the board was interested in what the first “quarter step” of the divestment process would be. GU Fossil Free stated:

“GU Fossil Free will not provide the Board with a ‘list of priorities’ or a ‘quarter step’ short of our ask for full divestment, because full divestment is about integrity at its core. If our University opposes any of the practices of any of the top 200 companies, based on human rights abuses or global climate change, Georgetown University therefore equally opposes all of the companies.”

GU Fossil Free is thrilled to welcome the news that a vote on divestment is likely for the May or June Board Meeting. However, speculation exists that Georgetown University may follow a similar path to how other universities have divested. Facing a heavily involved student body, Stanford University decided to divest from coal, but not fossil fuels. GUFF is pushing for a full divestment.

Throughout the meeting, members of GU Fossil Free yelled chants like “Say yes to divest!” or “Tell me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” Many speakers also explained to the crowd why he or she decided to personally get involved in the divestment movement.

Before going into the meeting, Caroline James (COL ’16), leader of GU Fossil Free, stated, “If it’s obvious how much of a no-brainer this should be, it should be a no-brainer to the board of directors.”

Speaking to the rally during the meeting, Michelle Stearn (COL ’17) talked about how walking through campus today she saw the words “For Generations to Come” on the walls of Healy Hall. “Well that’s funny,” she said, “I wonder if that’s really true.”

Photo: Patrick Drown/The Georgetown Voice

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