200+ University of Toronto Professors Call for Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry, Students March on Campus

For your immediate release, October 27th, 2015:

200+ University of Toronto Professors Call for Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry, Students March on Campus

Toronto, ON--More than 200 University of Toronto faculty members have signed an open letter urging the University to drop all of its direct stock holdings in coal, oil, and gas. Professors from dozens of departments, from engineering to anthropology, signed the open letter, available at UofTfacultydivest.com. A recommendation on divestment will be made to the U of T administration by an advisory committee this December, close to the time when UBC is expected to decide.

“The future is not fossil fuels, and divestment is the way to go on ethical and economic grounds,” said Danny Harvey, a climate change scientist and full professor in the Department of Geography.

“The people who suffer most from climate change are the ones who did nothing to cause it,” said Lila Asher, a second year international student in Environmental Studies. “If U of T claims to be a leader in equity and justice, they need to stop profiting from the destruction of our planet."

Following the release of the faculty letter and 400+ prospective students writing postcards to the administration, students and faculty will hold a march on campus this Thursday, October 29. The demonstration will wrap up with speeches outside a meeting of the U of T Governing Council.  

What: Student March for Fossil Fuel Divestment

When: Thursday October 29, Gathering at 5:30 P.M., March 5:50-6:15 P.M., Speeches 6:15-7:00 P.M.

Where: Gathering at Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street. Speeches at Simcoe Hall, 27 King’s College Circle.

The Fossil Fuel Divestment movement began in 2012, aiming to replicate student campaigns advocating divestment from Apartheid South Africa as a tool to pressure politicians.  Divestment proponents claim that when prominent institutions like the University of Toronto divest, they demonstrate societal disapproval of an industry’s practices.

The Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign at the University of Toronto is run by Toronto350.org, a grassroots organization building the movement to solve the climate crisis. Since the divestment campaign’s founding three years ago, dozens of organizations representing tens of thousands of students and staff have endorsed it. The campaign has also garnered support from eminent alumni and people such as Jeff Rubin, David Suzuki, Naomi Klein, and Winona Laduke.

The University of Toronto Ad-Hoc Committee on Fossil Fuel Divestment is required to submit its recommendation to President Meric Gertler by December 4th, 2015.  The timing of this announcement aptly coincides with the convergence of world leaders in Paris to negotiate a global agreement on emissions reductions.

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For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Danny Harvey, Professor: harvey@geog.utoronto.ca, Office: (416) 978-1588, Home: (416) 778-0670

Lila Asher, Student Organizer, lila7asher@gmail.com, Cell: (647) 975-8809

For high resolution photos by Milan Ilnyckyj from last year’s U of T Divestment march, go here.

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