Last week St Catherine’s JCR voted against a motion to divest from fossil fuel investment.
In the next two weeks a similar motion will be put to a number of other colleges.
The motion, which was proposed by members of the Environment and Ethics campaign, calls on all JCRs and MCRs to support the Divestment Campaign, and to request that individual colleges divest from college investment in fossil fuels. A similar motion has already been passed in Mansfield and was passed in Lincoln with amendments earlier in the term.
The campaign has grown from an 800-strong petition put together in Hilary term last year to become the main focus of OUSU’s Environment and Ethics campaign after the committee voted in support of it last year. UK universities invest on average £2000 per student in fossil fuels.
The movement started in the USA, and has now spread globally, with 36 campaigns in the UK alone. Oxford is starting to debate the issue relatively late, with Cambridge last week passing a motion about divestment, UCL currently in talks, and the University of Surrey already partially divested.
Investment in fossil fuels has been a growing concern amongst academic communities and the wider public, since recent research has shown that only 20 per cent of known fossil fuel reserves can safely be used. Despite this, fossil fuel companies have spent over $700 billion looking for new reserves in the last year.
The E & E campaign in Oxford claims to have two main strategies: passing motions within colleges to support divestment, and working with the University Social Responsibility Investment Review committee (SRIRC).
Motions will be put to Keble and Balliol in seventh week, and to Hertford in week eight. SRIRC is meeting next week to discuss a paper written by students in the campaign.