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Graduates demand university divestment for their futures

Graduates demand university divestment for their futures

Yesterday, students used their graduation to get political by urging the University of Auckland to stop investing in fossil fuels to help protect their future from climate change.

Erica Finnie, graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Geography and Environmental Science, held up a banner that read 'Stop Funding Coal, Oil, Gas' while crossing the stage to receive her degree. Meanwhile, other students gathered outside to get photos with the banner in support.

"My degree is meant to set me up for the future, but climate change is a direct threat to this," said Finnie. "By investing in companies that extract coal, oil and gas, the University of Auckland is fuelling climate change and undermining our future."

“It’s time for Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon to stand up for students and show some leadership by telling the Foundation to divest.”

The University of Auckland Foundation currently has over $1.5 million of its $100 million plus investment portfolio in fossil fuel companies, with that figure set to treble as it conducts a fundraising campaign ironically entitled ‘For All Our Futures’.

Despite the occasion of celebration, graduates took the time to get their photo holding a banner in Aotea Square and voice their support for cutting University funding to oil, coal and gas.

Students have been campaigning for over two years to lobby the University to divest, but have so far been refused by the Vice Chancellor, who sees divestment as a political tool. The campaign has the endorsement of the Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA), as well as twenty two other student associations and clubs.

Said Finnie: “The University of Auckland taught me about the harm fossil fuels and climate change are causing to human health, to our environment, and to cultures and ways of life in the Pacific. An institution that shares such knowledge can’t be neutral about where it puts its money - it’s time to take a stand.”

“It’s time to divest for all our futures.”


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