McGill professor quits in protest of school's refusal to divest from fossil fuel companies

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Professor Gregory Mikkelson, described as a tenured professor of 18 years teaching environmental ethics and philosophy has resigned his position at McGill to protest the University's repeated rejection of his motion to divest the University's endowment fund from fossil fuel companies.

An IHeartRadio article quotes Mikkelson as saying:

When our board decided for the third time in seven years to defy the overwhelming democratic mandate that has developed for that divestment here on campus, I just decided to look for an organization that is both more democratic and more sincerely committed to saving the planet,

“All my teaching and research is telling us we need to do this [divest],” Mikkelson said, “and yet the organization I work for is telling me to do the opposite.”

One less left wing ideologue in academia indoctrinating his students with their parents' money. What exactly is the downside?

I read his motion to divest the endowment fund from fossil fuel companies and I understand why it didn’t pass. It’s kooky.

The motion, in at least two places, compares life-saving fossil fuels to tobacco and the evil of South African apartheid. The comparison is made once in the background preamble, and another time in the body of the motion:

WHEREAS divestment campaigns have historically been a successful means by which public institutions can apply pressure on and change the practices of regimes and industries engaged in documented social injury; WHEREAS McGill University has a proud history of socially responsible investment, divesting from companies doing business in South Africa's apartheid regime in 1985, and divesting from tobacco companies in 2007;

It might be hard for Mikkelson to see from his high horse in Montreal, but out here in the West, Indigenous bands, like the Mikesew, Cold Lake and Fort McKay First Nations and dozens of others are major players in oil and gas.

McGill's endowment fund divesting from fossil fuel companies could play a role in damning indigenous communities to a cycle of dependency on the government. Divestment can rob Canada’s First Nations of economic independence, and strip their children of opportunities.

One might argue that is a form of apartheid.


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