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"Fossil Fuels" Day Protest occupies Dalhousie President's Office

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
The "FOIPOPasaurus" and student protestors within President Florizone's office.
The "FOIPOPasaurus" and student protestors within President Florizone's office.
A version of this article was also submitted to the Dalhousie Gazette. It has been shared with the Halifax Media Co-Op in recognition of the intersectionality that the issue of Fossil Fuel Divestment poses.

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) - Friday, April 1st 2015 - The student organized DivestDal movement occupied President Florizone office this morning, taking this moment to call out the administration and Board of Governors of Dalhousie for failing to act on the calls by the Dalhousie community to divest from fossil fuel investments.

 
Centre to their protest was the meter and a half high "FOIPOPasuarus," built "to symbolize the skeletons in Dalhousie's closet." This reflect DivestDal's frustration with the ongoing FOIOP request that they've had with the university for more information regarding the decision making process of the Board of Govenors when they decided to forgo divesting in November of 2014 (visible here).
 
Spokesperson Ben Mogl-MacLean described their request: "Our interest was around communication at the Board of Governors level, some high administrators at the school, President Florizone specifically, and some fossil fuel companies which Dal has had a relationship with."
 
Mogl-MacLean would further describe that this was to try to understand the nature of how this decision was reached. From DivestDal's understanding of what had occurred with the process leading into the November 2014 decision, this seems to have not been tenable:
 
"This process seemed to have been largely flawed. It seemed quite unexplainable in their decision. Their was a lot of really powerful transparency rhetoric from the university, but when it came down to it they didn't follow through on it."
 
This request was initially filed in July of 2015. They received an (Dalhousie university) estimated 20% of their request in October, and were promised the remainder of their request in the following week. They have not received these since.
 
The university had responded to earlier requests to follow through and act on the FOIPOP registered both privately and publicly on social media on March 23rd. The Dalhousie sponsored @Dalnews twitter account responded, stating that "This is a very comprehensive request for an overwhelming number of records.  We have responded to a portion of the request." and "We will respond to the balance as we complete our review of the remaining records.  We apologize for the delay."
 
This action was not unique to Dalhousie. Similar actions, all part of the larger Fossil Fuel divestment movement, occurred simaltaneously at other canadian universities like McGill, Ryerson, and York Universities.
 
Within Dalhousie, this comes in the context of the recent "Final Report to Senate" of the Ad hoc Committee of Senate on Fossil Fuel Divestment. 
 
This report recommends an ask which DivestDal would consider a step to their goal, asking for the university "to develop and enact formal institutional policy on ethical investment and other strategic initiatives to address climate change." 
 
Whether or not this is to be realized in a manner satisfiable to DivestDal is unknown though. The Ad hoc Committee recommended that this occur with "meaningful joint discussions of the Board of Governors" who in 2014 rejected a similar call. Similar discourse has been brought up in Senate before, about trying to work more effectively with the Board of Governors, specifically in areas related to collegiality and to make sure both bodies are effectively working together to better the university.

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