We are now entering the third year of our divestment campaign. For a quick overview of the history of Divest Western, check out our divestment timeline. On September 16, 2014, we received our first answer from the WWU Foundation Board, who make decisions regarding the university's investments. Although the Board decided not to divest, they did state that they will pursue establishing a climate-friendly fund as an option for donors.
While this climate-friendly fund is certainly a step in the right direction, we will continue to pursue full divestment, which we believe aligns with both the Foundation's fiduciary duty and the university's sustainability values. Our response to the Foundation's decision can be found here.
The divestment campaign began in November 2012 after hearing Bill McKibbon, leader of the anti-carbon campaign group 350.org, speak in Seattle. After a panel on divestment held on March 7, 2014, the Associated Students Board of Directors voted unanimously on March 12 to present a divestment proposal to WWU President Bruce Shepard and WWU's Foundation Board. In May 2014, the Foundation decided to hold more meetings exploring the possibility of divestment.
The request to divest, which was supported by 86% of the student body and hundreds of alumni, faculty, donors, and community members, asked that WWU freeze all new investments in fossil fuels and phase out current investments over the span of five years. As the number of universities, institutions, foundations, and individuals committing to divestment from fossil fuels grows, so does the legitimacy of the movement. We look forward to ensuring that our university stands with the many others leading the way to a fossil free future.