GU Fossil Free presents proposal to board of directors

February 12, 2015

After two years of working on its proposal for divestment from fossil fuels, Georgetown University Fossil Free presented the final explanation of its demands for full divestment from the top 200 fossil fuel companies over the next three years to the university’s board of directors on Feb. 11.

The board of directors only meets three times per year. According to Fossil Free member Caroline James (COL ‘16), Georgetown President John DeGioia was instrumental in creating Wednesday’s opportunity for Fossil Free to present to select members of the board.

“He said he would find five or six Board members who would be good to have in the room and who came from a variety of backgrounds,” James wrote in an email to the Voice. “I’m not completely sure how they were chosen; I think in part they self-selected based on their potential interest in the issue.”

At the meeting, Fossil Free gave a fifteen minute presentation on their proposal and then engaged in discussion with five members of the board. “Our presentation circulated mostly around the university’s moral and Jesuit imperative to act on divestment,” James wrote. “Then we spoke a bit about our process with CISR and how their recommendation for engagement and partial divestment is insufficient to address this issue.”

According to Fossil Free member Graham Willard (SFS ‘18), the board of directors received the proposal well. “All five board members said that they enjoyed our presentation and appreciated our hard work and commitment that we have put into the process and the proposal,” he wrote in an email to the Voice.

The board’s finance committee will meet again on Feb. 12, where it will discuss the proposal as well as considering CISR’s recommendations on the issue.

According to James, Fossil Free will not be allowed to particpate in this meeting. “GUFF also asked in the meeting today for a meeting with the full board tomorrow since they will be discussing divestment anyway, and that request was turned down,” she wrote.

Fossil Free remains optimistic moving forward and expects the board to vote at the end of the semester. “We were given a tentative promise of a vote in May/June,” Willard wrote. “We will continue to engage with individual board members in the coming weeks so that the university commits to full divestment.”

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