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Brandeis climate groups to meet with Board of Trustees

Brandeis climate groups to meet with Board of Trustees

By Celia Young

Section: Featured, News

January 19, 2018

Students from Brandeis Climate Justice (BCJ) and faculty members from Faculty Against the Climate Threat (FACT) will meet with the Board of Trustees and President Leibowitz to discuss divestment from fossil fuels Jan. 31, according to members of both organizations.

The talks are part of a long campaign by both organizations for the divestment from fossil fuels, or taking away Brandeis’ endowment funded investments in companies who support or distribute fossil fuels. Brandeis invests a small percentage of its endowment in energy investment portfolios which include fossil fuels.

On Jan. 8, members of BCJ and members of FACT met with President Liebowitz to organize a meeting, scheduled for Jan. 31, to present their case for divestment in front of the entire Board of Trustees.

This will be the first time either climate group has met with the entire board. Brandeis Climate Justice’s last meeting with a part of the board of trustees was in March of 2016.

Students and faculty members of each group will hold a presentation at the meeting, followed by a discussion where board members will be able to ask questions. Cacildia Cain ’18, a member of BCJ since her first year at Brandeis, and Sabine von Mering, a member of FACT and the Director for the Center for German and European studies will be attending the meeting.

Nick Warren, the Chief Investments Officer for Brandeis University, will also be presenting following the environmental groups with regards to the financial process of divestment, von Mering said.

According to Cain, BCJ plans to invoke Louis Brandeis’ legacy as a supporter of social justice in presenting to the board. “It’s just not right for a school or an institution that claims to be so… committed to social justice to be profiting off of climate change or the fossil fuel industry,” Cain said.

However, Cain expressed concern that the board may not see divestment as a priority or financially feasible.

BCJ and FACT hope to move towards full divestment of the endowment from fossil fuels. von Mering outlined FACT’s goals for the meeting, saying, “We want the Board of Trustees to stop investing in fossil fuels and we want them to make a public statement about that… We cannot use or students’ money to destroy our students’ future…Our goal is to make them understand that.”

Both groups campaigned last year for divestment. BCJ, a student run organization formerly known as Brandeis Students for Environmental Action (SEA), held a march and petition for the divestment campaign. FACT also gained support though a petition and a resolution in October of 2017, which had majority support from the group.

BCJ meets at 8 p.m. on Mondays in Schwartz 103 and will have a general interest meeting on Jan. 22.

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