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Senate House, Cambridge
Senate House Passage, CB2 1TS Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
THURSDAY 15TH MARCH//OUTSIDE SENATE HOUSE//BRING BANNERS,PLACARDS,NOISE-MAKING EQUIPMENT
#CorporationCambridge is set to once again reject divestment, against the wishes of its students and staff. In doing so, University authorities are choosing to ally themselves with the fossil fuel industry, an industry responsible for climate breakdown and human rights abuses across the world.
We won’t accept this. Last week our representative on the working group, Alice Guillaume, resigned in protest against this outrageous decision. She made clear that a simple commitment to coal and tar sands divestment, already made two years ago, is utterly insufficient.
This is a crisis of both justice and democracy. Democracy, because both students and staff have voted without opposition for divestment. Because the University’s own governing body, Regent House, had its democratic decision in favour of divestment overturned by the University Council. Democracy, because the university’s working group was full of conflicts of interest. Democracy, because those of us who make up this University are having our voices silenced.
But it is a crisis of justice too. Cambridge’s mission statement lays claim to providing a positive contribution to society, to a committing to sustainability. It raises billions across the world off the back of its supposedly positive influence in society. Yet here it is profiting from climate breakdown. As Alice wrote in her Varsity article (https://varsity.co.uk/opinion/14993), “the report lets down not only those that have campaigned for divestment for so long, but also those communities across the world already experiencing the deadly effects of climate breakdown.” Cambridge is choosing complicity in climate injustice, in systems of inequality and racial oppression.
This is a climate emergency. Quite simply, we are out of time. Out of time across the world – latest estimates judge the possibility of remaining below the universally-agreed 2°C warming benchmark at just 5%. We urgently need to tackle the political power of the fossil fuel lobby, which prevents effective climate action – Cambridge should be leading, not dragging its heels. And we are out of time at Cambridge too. University Council is set to make its decision within months. The Working Group will never recommend divestment – we need to force it. Let’s transform #CorporationCambridge into a democratic and just University.
That means a mass movement. We need hundreds in the streets, and mass participation in our campaign. Students, staff and all those connected with the University need to make clear that we demand full divestment, nothing less.
In doing so, we can lay out our positive vision of a just and sustainable university. Let the University divest from fossil fuels, and invest in renewables. In leaving the fossil fuel industry behind we can be a genuine pioneer in a just transition to a low-carbon economy. We can show what a democratic university committed to social justice looks like.
That means going beyond divestment. It is the same University management blocking divestment which is behind the staff pension cuts, which enforces Prevent despite its clearly racist positioning. Zero Carbon stands in solidarity with liberation and justice groups across the University – and we call on them to do so for us now.
Join us on our March for Divestment, and join us in our struggle for an environmentally and socially just Cambridge #DivestCambridge
SPEAKER INFO (tbc)