Alumni and students of Britain’s Oxford University are up in arms over the school’s deferral of a plea to pull shares of its $3.9 billion endowment from fossil fuel companies.
Following the University Council decision on Monday to postpone the matter of divestment to a “future meeting,” a number of alumni swiftly claimed occupation of a university administration building to demonstrate their anger over the announcement.
“Oxford Alumni Say Divest From Fossil Fuels,” read a banner which the protesters draped out of a building window.
Other graduates of the esteemed school, including Guardian journalist George Monbiot and solar energy entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett, pledged to symbolically hand back their diploma over the board’s refusal.
“For an academic institution charged with the responsibility of shaping young lives the choice ought to be clear. It doesn’t make sense to train young people to nurture civilization with one hand while bankrolling the sabotage of it with the other,” Leggett wrote.
Following the meeting on Monday, the council released a statement saying: “Last October’s Oxford university student union resolution has raised an important and multi-faceted matter which requires thorough consideration. The university council had a good discussion of the issues and agreed to consider the matter further at a future meeting.”
Responding to the announcement, the Oxford University Fossil Free Divestment Campaign, which organized the divestment resolution, said it was “disappointed” with Oxford’s decision. “This deferral represents serious complacency towards the urgent need for action on climate change,” the group said.
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