Global Climate Strike: Students at Hamilton’s McMaster University plan walk-out in protest of fossil fuel investments

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Published March 22, 2022 at 4:43 pm

Global Climate Strike: Students at Hamilton's McMaster University plan walk-out in protest of fossil fuel investments
Students at Hamilton's McMaster University are joining others around the world in the Global Climate Strike this Friday (Mar. 25) over fossil fuel investments.

Students at Hamilton’s McMaster University are joining others around the world in the Global Climate Strike this Friday (Mar. 25). The “school-wide walk-out” of classes, tutorials, and seminars is in protest of McMaster’s investments in the fossil fuel industry.

Climate activist organizations MacDivest and Fridays for Future Hamilton are calling on the university to formalize a commitment to never again investing in fossil fuels, remove their current holdings, and reinvest funds into green technologies.

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“Despite almost two years of student activism, McMaster University’s Board of Governors has not budged on the matter of divestment,” reads the online petition. “We need your help to show the Board of Governors how many community members, students, staff, faculty, and alumni are willing to hold the University accountable.”

“We need you to show them that you care, and you are watching,” the petition continues. “We need your help to create real change at our institution. Sign today to lift your voice in the ever-growing divestment movement. We need you.”

According to the activist groups, McMaster University holds $22.2 million of investments in fossil fuels, “despite an organizational commitment” to sustainability.

The walk-out is scheduled to take place between 12 and 3 p.m. outside University Hall and Gilmour Hall.

In an email to inTheHammer, McMaster University communications manager Michelle Donovan said they “appreciate and acknowledge MacDivest and their focus on sustainability.”

“As well, we encourage students to be engaged and support those who may wish to participate,” she added.

In an online post, McMaster University’s Daily News endorsed the protest.

“Across our campus, throughout Canada and around the world, students, faculty members and researchers are engaged in discussions to address climate change,” the post from Mar. 18, 2022 reads. “Students who choose to participate can use (a McMaster Student Absence Form) for an academic absence.”

“Instructors are encouraged to be flexible by extending course assignment deadlines or providing alternatives for course attendance/participation. Any instructors who choose to participate should communicate with students about any changes to due dates or scheduled classes to students with sufficient notice,” the post continues.

The activist groups accuse McMaster of double-speak when it comes to environmental sustainability.

“Despite almost two years of student activism, McMaster University’s Board of Governor’s has not budged on the matter of divestment,” the group says.

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