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Gonzaga Faculty Senate Votes To Support Fossil Fuel Divestment

Fossil Free Gonzaga

Gonzaga’s Faculty Senate voted Wednesday to support a student resolution that asks the university to sell its endowment investments related to fossil fuels.

The faculty vote comes after three years of discussion on campus. Philosophy and Environmental Sciences Professor Brian Henning says that’s when students first proposed the resolution.

It reads, “We request that Gonzaga University’s Board of Trustees commit by 2020 to divest Gonzaga’s endowment from the 200 most carbon-intensive companies.”

Henning says students met with administrators, professors and others in the university community. They sponsored a series of speakers on the issue. A year ago, the student government formally approved the measure.

“We have decided that to continue to invest in carbon-intensive companies is intentionally going against our mission of caring for the environment, caring for the poor and the vulnerable,” said Tori Shaw, the leader of the Fossil Free Gonzaga student divestment project.

Henning says the faculty vote affirms the students’ position.

“It connects interestingly to the apartheid divestment movement in the 1980s," Henning said. "Gonzaga students in the ‘80s had a four-year campaign to try and convince the Gonzaga Board of Trustees to divest from companies supporting the apartheid regime. The board initially fought it and, after a four-year campaign, the students were successful.”

Henning says a subcommittee of the university’s Board of Trustees has been studying the carbon divestment proposal and plans to release its report to the full board this summer.