Letter: Professor supports divestment

I am writing to add my support to Emma Jackson’s call for Mount Allison University to divest from fossil fuels (Letters, Nov. 27, 2014).

Last May, at the occasion of long-standing VP Administration David Stewart’s retirement, President Campbell spoke admiringly about Mr. Stewart’s commitment to the principle of intergenerational equity as a cornerstone for the university’s prudent approach to financial planning. Applied to the challenge of global climate change, the ‘Stewart Doctrine’ of intergenerational equity offers considerable guidance for university planning. What might this principled shift look like in practice?

Members of MAFA recently voted to allow for the inclusion of ethical funds as an option for members’ pension portfolios. Such an incremental change arose because faculty listened to our students. I have hope that because of this decision our pension managers will seek to keep our business by offering members the choice to divest. This small but important step is how incremental positive change occurs.

I challenge the University to take similar incremental steps as it confronts the threat of climate change that the best science informs us is caused by society’s addiction to fossil fuels. I strongly encourage the stewards of the university endowment to begin to have the conversations that would enable a shift away from investments that directly compromise the world which future Allisonians will inhabit.

Sincerely,

Tim Reiffenstein

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