Board must listen to students’ demands

Meg Trogolo

UVM’s board of trustees has a listening problem.

UVM students have been organizing in favor of divestment from fossil fuel companies for years, with the environmental club Organize leading the movement in recent months.

However, the board voted against divestment during their October 2019 meeting and did not even address the subject during their recent January meeting.

SGA passed a resolution Jan. 21 asking the board of trustees to create an action plan for divestment, according to a Jan. 29 Cynic article.

The divestment movement isn’t limited to students. The UVM Faculty Senate passed a resolution Jan. 27 urging the University to no longer invest in fossil fuel companies, according to the UVM Faculty Senate meeting minutes.

Despite the UVM community’s repeated calls for action, the board of trustees still refuses to address their contributions to climate change.

The board must know that the fossil fuel industry is one of the main reasons that Earth is warming at a dangerous rate.

The board must know that today’s young people will bear most of the weight of climate change, as so much of the predicted damage to our planet will occur later in our lifetimes.

The board almost certainly knows that UVM students notice the difference between UVM’s environmentally friendly image and its dangerous reality.

Only 20 fossil fuel companies have been responsible for one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions since 1965, according to an October 2019 Guardian article.

After the public comment session of the board’s meeting on Jan. 31, senior Sophie Brenits said, “A huge part of why people come here is for [environmental] values, and it’s really disappointing to see that the University doesn’t uphold that.”

Other student attendees felt similarly disappointed.

“I feel lied to and cheated,” first-year Raven Murray said.

The campus divestment movement did not form out of boredom. Students, staff and faculty are demonstrating, signing petitions and writing letters to board members because we know that they hold our future in their hands.

The board is wasting our time by tuning our voices out. They must divest from fossil fuel companies for good.