UNSW students take a stand on divestment

By Carla Zuniga Navarro

Fossil Free UNSW students started a peaceful occupation of UNSW’s Council Chamber this morning, in an ongoing nationwide campaign pushing for the university’s divestment from its fossil fuel interests.

The spokesperson for the group, Elisa Ginty, said that, after three years of being shut out of the university council, they are today occupying the space to “reclaim our university from the grip of the fossil fuel industry”.

“Today we are showing that, despite UNSW’s refusal to be a leader of action on climate change, students are ready to lead the transition towards a future powered by renewable energy,” she said.

“We have the majority support of students and staff from every faculty on campus because UNSW’s investments in coal, oil and gas companies are giving the green light to all the climate catastrophes that will put everyone’s future at risk.”

Vice Chancellor Ian Jacobs has not made any formal statement regarding the university’s investment in coal, gas and oil companies. Tharunka has reached out to Professor Jacobs but is yet to receive a reply.

While UNSW students were occupying the university’s Council Chamber, Fossil Free UQ (University of Queensland) also started an occupation of their university’s Chancellery. Fossil Free UNSW has said that more actions are expected to follow around the country this week.

This Friday, 150 countries are set to sign the Paris agreement to keep global warming below two degrees, with UNSW’s failure to address the call for divestment seen as “lagging behind” international efforts.