Although rallies, banners and chants are very visible, a lot of what Divest does happens behind the scenes, through research and planning. We are committed to transparency, and that starts with sharing the results of our internal work. Here are therefore the key reports, recommendations, op-eds, motions, press releases and demands that we have submitted, petitioned for and mobilized around for nearly 7 years.
Letter to CAMSR
This is the letter that Divest McGill presented to CAMSR in the Winter 2018 to ask the committee to
i) keep the frequency of revision of its Terms of Reference to every 3 years;
ii) remove from its mandate statement a biased and ill-defined phrased preventing support to social or political causes;
iii) make its meeting minutes public;
iv) ensure that no member with current or past professional relationships with companies under consideration seats on the committee;
v) provide a formal distinction between ‘social injury’ and ‘grave social injury’.
Senate Motion on Divestment
On September 12th, 2018, senator Gregoy Mikkelson proposed a motion stating “that the Senate, through the Principal, advises the Board of Governors to divest the endowment from all companies whose primary business is the extraction, distribution, and/or sale of fossil fuels; and from all mutual funds that invest in such companies.” It was adopted by an overwhelming majority, leaving the Board more isolated than ever in its stubborn support to the fossil fuel industry.
Grievances letter to CAMSR
One year after the 2016 CAMSR report rejected divestment on the grounds of “grave social injury” (i.e. fossil fuel companies do not cause grave social injury, and therefore divestment is not necessary), Divest McGill wrote this letter to formally state our grievances regarding this ruling. Here, we describe how fossil fuel divestment does fall within CAMSR’s mandate of social responsibility.
CAMSR Proposed new Terms of Reference
Proposed changes of the Terms of Reference of CAMSR, including the addition of “to refrain from using the University’s resources to advance specific social or political causes” to the committee's mandate. (see second section of Appendix B). These were presented for approval by the Board in December 2017, but the vote was postponed after interruption of the meeting by Divest members. After pressure and communication with administration, this sentence did not make it to the final version voted on in April 2018.
During finals seasonMcGill attempted to vote a change to the mandate of its Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility stating that the Committee “shall refrain from using the University’s resources to advance specific political or social causes”. So we shut down that meeting and WE WON, the changes to the mandate were abandoned.
This press was released following a meeting with Suzzanne Fortier that took place in response to the 2016 sit-in which demanded community consultation and a revision of the 2016 CAMSR report, transparency regarding the experts consulted for the decision, and a statement acknowledging the grave social injury caused by the fossil fuel industry.
CAMSR Report - L4D Annotation
MUST READ: the infamous March 2016 CAMSR report that recommended to keep investing in fossil fuels. Be prepared for fallacious claims like “grave injurious impact [from climate change] is a threshold which arguably has not been reached and can yet be avoided” and “The Committee is persuaded that the beneficial impact of fossil fuel companies offsets or outweighs injurious impact at this time”! This version was annotated by profs members of MFL4D (McGill faculty and librarians for divestment). It highlights numerous omissions, ill-supported opinion statements, factual errors, contradictions and red herrings; it also provides solid additional resources to counter CAMSR’s conclusions.
12 Angry Professors
In May 2016, 12 of McGill’s own professors, 5 of them Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, denounced the CAMSR report because it “applies unreasonable and inconsistent criteria, employs fallacious arguments and fails to supply any evidence to support its assertions, including the astonishing that global warming has so far caused no grave harm”. Read more about their criticisms and three demands, including a reconsideration of Divest’s submission.
Open Forum Report
Report from Open Forum on CAMSR’s rejection of divestment offered to students as a concession. It begins by outlining the history of the Divestment campaigns, the CAMSR’s decision, and its aftermath without referencing the sit-in. Its main conclusions included promoting more sustainable individual travel, rebuilding trust, the need for a “bolder” climate vision, emphasizing reconciliation within sustainability, and encouraging sustainability-related research.
A summary of the second submission to the CAMSR, which includes a petition of 400 signatures(on top of the previous 1500), and a brief explaining the grave social injury caused by fossil fuels. This cover letter details the changes made to this submission, as a response and follow up to the previous 2013 submission.
This is the research brief presented by Divest McGill in February 2015. This 150-page document discusses the context of and arguments for divestment at McGill and presents thorough evidence of the grave social injury that activities of the fossil fuel industry causes. Specific recommendations are made in light of the environmental harm and human rights abuses exposed.
Plan Nord Submission
The first submission to CAMSR concerning Plan Nord, a project pushed by the Charest government to capitalize indigenous land in Northern Quebec, included a petition of over 700 students against it, CAMSR guidelines over conflicts of interest, and outlines divests perspective against McGill’s financial involvement with the companies of Plan Nord.
Fossil Fuel submission
Divest McGill submits its first petition to CAMSR demanding “that the Investment Committee dispose, in an orderly and responsible fashion in no longer than three years, of the University's holdings in corporations which produce, refine, transport, or sell fossil fuels.” The petition, which was signed by 1200 members of the McGill community, also targeted investments in the Quebec Plan Nord.