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The University of Auckland’s (UoA) governing council has opted out of voting on a motion that would have urged their foundation to divest from fossil fuels.
Since December last year UoA has been under pressure from students, staff, and alumni to divest from coal, oil, and gas companies that are acknowledged as key contributors to climate change.
AUSA President Will Matthews’ divestment motion had the support of ten student associations and 3000 petitioners. Matthews believes it was well in line with the university’s Strategic Plan, which states that they “cannot plunder the future to pay for the present.”
Matthews said that if UoA takes climate change seriously “it should put its money where its mouth is and divest from fossil fuel industries.”
Fossil Free UoA—the group who initiated conversations surrounding the university’s investments in fossil fuel companies—is also disappointed with the non-vote.
Spokesperson Alex Johnstone said that “by not even voting on whether to urge the foundation to divest, the university council has said it is ok for the foundation to keep fuelling climate change through its investments.”
Victoria University divested from fossil fuel investments in 2014, as did Otago University.