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Vermont students call for rethink after fossil fuel divestment is rejected



The University of Vermont’s (UVM) board of trustees has rejected proposals from students calling for fossil fuel divestment by the institution. Student groups have responded by arguing they were not given the chance to reply to the board’s concerns.

A meeting between the board’s budget, finance and investment committee came to the conclusion that divestment was not a viable solution.

Speaking after the decision, committee member Samuel Bain said, “I believe that we are well served to not move this forward because I don’t think we believe that it is in the best interest of the endowment.

However, the Student Climate Culture group has sent a letter to the board, claiming that the decision was “unfair” and that students were not able to address the issues raised by the university during the meeting.

As the investment subcommittee discussed the divestment proposal, we sat silently during their conversations, yet the opportunity never arose for us to correct the assumptions made by our trustees”, the letter said.

The subcommittee made its decision about our proposal based on misguided beliefs. We can address each and every one of the subcommittee’s concerns, but we have been stifled.”

Students said that after thousands of signatures supporting divestment, they saw “no clear path towards having the community’s voice heard”.

The group added that it hoped the board would give students a second chance to discuss the matter.

Conventional responses to address the changing climate have failed”, they said.

We need to address the root of the problem directly, and to do so effectively, we need leadership from those in positions of power. We hope you can help UVM lead on climate action, and we are grateful for your time.”

Students have started to push for divestment in several US universities – including Harvard and Yale. The campaign recently came to UK shores.

Further reading:

Students call on UK universities to move money away from fossil fuels

Yes, we too can profit by killing the planet because… we’re Harvard

Fossil fuel divestment is neither ‘warranted or wise’, says Harvard president

UK universities have £5.2bn invested in the fossil fuel industry, report says

US academics: fossil fuel divestment reduces long-term financial risks


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