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RMIT students call on uni to drop assets in coal, oil and gas

From 360.org Australia:

Students today delivered an open letter signed by 401 RMIT academics and staff that calls on the University to dump its fossil fuel investments to Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean. The letter was delivered in a giant, life-sized envelope directly to the VC Bean.

Photos from action will be uploaded here.

RMIT is coming under increasing pressure by students and staff to shift its $1.2 billion endowment fund away from coal, oil and gas. Last year, the University publicly stated that it was investigating its financial exposure to fossil fuel-related industries, developing a responsible investment strategy and exploring alternative investment options in response to the campaign.

“The open letter delivered to VC Martin Bean today and signed by 350 RMIT academics and staff shows the pressure is mounting on the University to get out of polluting fossil fuel companies,” Fossil Free RMIT member Mia Papp said. “It comes after a petition signed by more than 1000 students was delivered to the university last year and we will continue advocating for the University to honour its values and clean up its investments.

“To stay below the agreed 1.5°C of global warming, the vast majority of current fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground. Yet, by investing in these companies RMIT is keeping these projects viable and is directly contributing to the warming of the planet.  

“As a student of RMIT I am appalled that my university would be funding climate change – the very problem my degree is teaching me to tackle. For an institution that is trying to create a better future for society it is hypocritical and unacceptable for RMIT to continue to invest in fossil fuels.

“It is time for RMIT to listen to its community and become climate leaders by dumping their investments in coal, oil and gas.” concluded Miss Papp.

“At RMIT we are committed to the future of our students and that must include doing all we can to make sure they inherit a healthy and safe environment. A responsible fossil free investment strategy would be one positive and practical action we can take towards reducing the dangerous impacts of climate change” commented Professor Robin Goodman, Deputy Dean of Sustainability and Urban Planning.

The delivery comes just weeks after Queensland University of Technology became the second university in Australia to commit to fully divesting its endowment of the top 200 coal, oil and gas companies.

The student led divestment campaign is part of a worldwide movement to shift money away from the world’s top coal, oil and gas companies. To date, investments valuing US$3.4 trillion have been shifted away from the fossil fuel industry. In Australia alone, 24 local governments and 5 universities have made some form of divestment commitment.

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