The Graduate Union has joined calls for the University of Cambridge to stop investing in fossil fuels. The motion, which called for “the GU to support a policy of divestment of the University’s investments”, was passed by a margin of 9 – 2 at a GU Council meeting on Monday. This brings the GU into line with CUSU [the undergraduate student union], who passed a similar motion last year by a margin of 33 – 1.
Several students attended in order to make arguments in favour of divestment. However, as no students or MCR representatives wished to make a a speech in opposition, the motion moved quickly to a vote. Chris Galpin, who proposed the motion, was pleased by the result; “It’s great that the GU has chosen to back divestment by such a significant margin. The divestment campaign has achieved a completely unprecedented level of student engagement over the past year, and we hope that the University will work with students to ensure its investments reflect the same values as its teaching.”
The Divestment Campaign at Cambridge has gained momentum over the last year, finding widespread support amongst both students and academics at a recent meeting of the University’s governing body, Regent House. Last year, Cambridge Zero Carbon launched a petition which received the signatures of over 2,300 university affiliates, and organised a march through Cambridge which was attended by approximately 300 people, making it one of the largest student campaigns at the University in recent years.
It is widely expected that academics will call for a vote on divestment in the near future. This new declaration of support from the Graduate Union will only increase pressure on the University to strengthen its policies on ethical investment.
The wording of the motion passed was as follows;
That the GU support a policy of divestment of the University’s investments, both direct and indirect, from companies whose business is wholly or substantially concerned with the extraction of fossil fuels.
That the GU support attempts by members of the University to bring a policy of divestment from fossil fuels to a vote at Regent House.