Divest UVic’s attempts at a dialogue with University administrators has been an exercise in frustration. The UVic Board of Governors (BOG) defers jurisdiction on divestment to the University’s Foundation Board: a body that does not hold public meetings and is very reluctant to consult with campus groups. In turn, the Foundation Board outsources decisions to financial managers. The process pushes divestment deep into a bureaucratic rabbit hole, where decisions are far removed from public accountability.
In February of 2017, following months of pressure, students with Divest UVic were able to meet with the chair of the Foundation Board and other high-level University administrators. While decision makers still refused calls for divestment, the meeting provided insights into reasons why. We learned that the Foundation Board has been pressured by influential donors not to divest. Even though administrators accept that fossil fuel stocks perform more poorly than their other investments, they appear willing to forego revenue in order to avoid rocking the boat.
This revelation helped us understand the influence that donors carry over UVic’s decisions. That’s why students and alumni have begun pledging not to donate to UVic until the University agrees to divest.
Below we’ve included correspondence between Divest UVic and UVic administration, beginning in 2013.
January 13, 2020: Myth busting Submission to the Board of Governors Meeting
Fall 2019 timeline as of November 29, 2019:
November 14, 2019: Presentation to Board of Governors and Foundation Board
February 4 – April 1, 2014: UVSS Letter to the Board of Governors and the BOG’s Response
May 1, 2014: Divest UVic Submission to the Board of Governors and Foundation
Divest Uvic wrote this report to answer questions raised by the BOG in its response to the UVSS letter.
May 22, 2014: Foundation Response to Divest Uvic
May 27, 2014: Board of Governors Response to Divest Uvic
September 2014: Foundation Memo to Board of Governors
April 7, 2015: Letter from Vice-President External Relations to Divest Uvic following the student referendum