BREAKING: McGill Board Acts Against Community Support for Fossil Fuel Divestment

BREAKING: McGill Board Acts Against Community Support for Fossil Fuel Divestment

The McGill Board of Governors claims fossil fuel companies do not cause social injury.

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MONTREAL (March 23rd) – Today, McGill’s Board of Governors rejected fossil fuel divestment, in direct contravention to the overwhelming support for divestment expressed by over 2,500 community members. McGill published a report in which they not only dismiss divestment, but also rule that fossil fuel companies’ actions are not harmful to society or the environment.

Members of the Board of Governors had only 26 hours to review the document before they were asked to approve it in a closed, unpublicized meeting. Divest McGill members attended the open part of the Board meeting with tape over their mouths to denounce the lack of a public forum for community consultation on divestment, or on the report itself. McGill’s Faculty of Arts, School of Environment, Faculty of Law, and student unions representing over 33,000 students have endorsed divestment, as well as over 150+ individual faculty members and 230+ alumni signatories. The Board acted against these voices for divestment.

“The Board’s vote today, declaring that fossil fuel companies are not responsible for social injury, is not only myopic, but shameful,” argued Victor Frankel, PhD Candidate. “The World Health Organization reports that hundreds of thousands of people are already dying each year from the direct effects of climate change. Is the board waiting for the world’s life support systems to totally collapse before divesting from fossil fuels? By that point, it won’t make a difference. Divestment can make a difference today.”

“Today’s decision shows that Chair Cobbett and the entire Board has a lot to learn about climate change. They say they agree with the science, but they don’t seem to know what it means to act accordingly,” said David Summerhays, Arts alumnus.

Because McGill has decided to remain invested in the fossil fuel industry, alumni will be returning their diplomas to express their shame that their alma matter remains complicit in the climate crisis. Divest McGill will be meeting in the coming days to discuss their next steps, but assures the community that it will not stop fighting for divestment. Today, they say that they are not defeated, but galvanized, and invite people to join the movement.


Background: Despite Divest McGill’s three-year campaign on campus, the McGill administration does not recognize the harmful impacts of fossil fuels and recommends against divestment.

Divestment is a worldwide campaign that asks institutions to withdraw their investments from the fossil fuel industry because of its social and environmental harm. So far, over 500 institutions committed to divest over $3.4 trillion in capital.



Kristen Perry

(438) 888-9737

Julianna Duholke

(514) 726-3378

Chloé Laflamme

(514) 294-6069

Darin Barney (Faculty)

(514) 974-5945


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