UGBC Calls For Divestment From Fossil Fuels

On Tuesday, the Student Assembly (SA) of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College passed a resolution calling upon the University to divest from existing funds in fossil fuel companies within the next five years. It also requests BC to immediately freeze any new or future investment in fossil fuel companies.

The resolution was sponsored by Ellen O’Brien, MCAS ’20; and co-sponsored by Nicholas Stubblefield, MCAS ’20; Kate Canavan, MCAS ’21; Ignacio Fletcher, MCAS ’20; and Samuel Szemerenyi, MCAS ’20.

O’Brien thinks that connecting Jesuit ideals with care for the environment would make the University known as an eco-friendly institution. She cited that other Catholic and Jesuit institutions, such as Georgetown University, in addition to other institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University have divested over the last few years.

“[Administrators] think divesting would put BC at a competitive disadvantage, but they didn’t get into many specifics because it was something they were not as willing or wanted to do,” said Kyle Rosenthal, a member of Climate Justice Boston at Boston College (CJBC) and CSOM ’21.

In 2013, UGBC passed a resolution that called for “the President and Board of Trustees of Boston College to Divest the University’s Endowment from Publicly-Traded Fossil Fuel Companies.” The resolution was passed by a vote of 17-1, but was later considered invalid due to restructuring within UGBC.

Justin Hsieh, MCAS ’19, said he does not feel divestment is the best choice. He feels that it would be more effective to do something on campus with a more concrete impact, since he believes divestment will have a negative impact on fossil fuel companies and the University.

Other students believed divestment would have economic benefits.

“I actually think it would make economic sense in the long term,” said Alex Eishingdrelo, MCAS ’20, “With growing emphasis on green energy, it is very likely that even the next presidential organization will push for legislation that attempts to restrict greenhouse gas emission.”

CJBC also released a press release on UGBC’s resolution, calling for increased transparency, climate action, and student and faculty input with regard to endowment investments. In partnership with UGBC, CJBC hopes to push BC to divest.

“CJBC looks forward to working with UGBC, the administration, and the Board of Trustees,” the press release reads, “to evaluate the most efficient and effective approaches the university can take, while continuing to educate students and faculty about divestment and its importance.”

A previous version of this article reported an incorrect value about the total divestment value of some universities.  

Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Photo Editor