New Vice-Chancellor Charlie Jeffery today announced that the University of York no longer holds investments with fossil fuel companies.
Jeffery announced the divestment in his inaugural speech to the University while setting out his vision for the next decade and discussing how he intends to reach his lofty ambitions.
The announcement of the divestment was one of the few moments in his hour long speech to bring full, roaring applause from the audience. Clearly possessing charisma and character, the room followed his every word, but the substance behind his words proved to be popular.
Alongside the announcement, Jeffery announced a working group of students and staff has been created in order to work on further climate issues that the University could be better at.
The divestment from fossil fuels has been a significant talking point for several years, with the University doing little to nothing until now. Although YUSU Environment and Ethics Officers of past have campaigned for divestment, they have proven to be ineffective until now. New Officers Mark Matthews and Merry Dickinson have just achieved one of their key targets after making YUSU declare a climate emergency, but now another key manifesto point has been delivered.
There are still questions, however, around the University’s investment portfolio. The University of York has previously received millions in funding from arms manufacturers, and invests in them too, a potential new target for Matthews and Dickinson.
YUSU Environment & Ethics Officers Mark Matthews and Merry Dickinson commented: “We’re delighted to hear the announcement of full divestment from fossil fuels from Charlie, it’s been a long campaign to get here and to have a VC who seems to be aware of the importance of climate emergency is extremely exciting.
“We’ll be looking into the full details of this divestment, to check that it’s as exciting as it sounds. And a massive big up to everyone who’s been involved in this campaign, particularly Oscar Bentley the previous E+E Officer who spent the last year campaigning for divestment. This is a massive win for us and we’re going to keep campaigning for more radical climate action in York.”
Analysis by Harry Clay
The announcement today showed promise that York’s new Vice-Chancellor will be taking the University in a new direction. Jeffery declared proudly that he’ll be working with YUSU and the GSA, speaking to every department, and taking in ideas from students. An open mind insignificant Heslington Hall is a victory for all those who want to sharpen up the Uni, those who want to see it shine a little brighter that it might at the moment. The wonderful news of divestment looks like the first big step, in what could be a huge leap for the University of York.
The University of York have been contacted for comment. Featured Image by Chay Quinn