Students and staff vote squarely against Melbourne University investing in fossil fuels
24th SEPTEMBER 2014
Part of a nationwide university divestment movement that has spread to over 20 campuses across the country
The results of a referendum on whether or not the University of Melbourne should stop investing in fossil fuels have been released today. Just under 2000 students and staff at the University of Melbourne voted 97% in favour of divestment. This announcement comes after an intense week of referendum campaigning by students who are determined to see their university ditch fossil fuels from their investment portfolio.
Around 100 University of Melbourne students, staff and alumni will gather on South Lawn in front of the iconic clock tower at 2pm today for the announcement of the referendum results. Attendees will hear from President of the Student Union Declan McGonigle, Arnaud Gallois from the National Tertiary Education Union and IPCC Scientist and Melbourne Professor David Karoly, who all want to see the University shift their investments away from fossil fuels. This will be followed by a ceremonial unveiling of the results on a large banner.
Fossil Free campaigners from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) will also be revealing the results of their student and staff referendum on divestment today.
These referendums come just weeks after students at the Australian National University (ANU) voted 82% in favour of the University pulling its investments out of fossil fuel companies. A similar referendum is taking place at the University of Sydney this week, the first University to have put a freeze on any new fossil fuel investments in reaction to a targeted divestment campaign by Greenpeace and Fossil Free USyd.
Members of both Universities’ top governance bodies have been invited to the events to receive a hard copy of the results. While Vice-Principal Neil Morris has agreed to receive the results in person at UNSW, it remains to be seen whether or not Vice- Chancellor Glyn Davis or other senior figures will make an appearance at the Melbourne event.
“What these results show is that university communities all over Australia want to see their University show real climate leadership in the face of government inaction” said 350.org Australia’s National Campus Divestment Coordinator, Vicky Fysh.
“If any institution should be moving their investments away from polluting fossil fuels, it is Universities. They know better than any the disastrous impacts fossil fuels are having and they are extremely well-placed to highlight to the community that we need to transition away from this 18th century technology as quickly as possible”, commented IPCC Scientist and University of Melbourne Professor David Karoly.