An Open Letter to Concordia President Alan Shepard on Divestment from Fossil Fuels

Dr. Shepard,

As a student in environmental science at Concordia University and the leader of the Green Party of Quebec, I would like to take a moment to voice my support for a student­led fossil fuel divestment campaign.

Concordia has the potential to become the first Canadian university to divest from fossil fuels. This is an opportunity for Concordia to make history at an international level and to distinguish itself from other institutions by sending a clear message that our institution is at the forefront of the fight against global warming.

Some of your recent statements on fossil fuel divestment show that you do not fully understand the reasoning behind the divestment campaign. For example, you have openly stated that the university would consider divestment only if it is shown that sustainable and ethical investments perform as well as the unsustainable and grossly unethical investments the university currently holds in the oil and gas industry.

In life, there are many ways to be financially rewarded for engaging in unethical behaviour. The principle of divestment is taking the moral high ground, and saying no to fossil fuels for ethical reasons.

While the Concordia University Foundation may be positioned to profit off an unethical industry that threatens our future, they have a responsibility not to do so. Not every single decision the university makes needs to come back to the bottom line of its bank account. If the endowment funds produce slightly less revenue because they choose the moral high ground, so be it.

—Alex Tyrrell,
Leader of the Green Party of Quebec

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