Divestment protests at Uni of Tasmania

Peaceful protests at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) have entered a second day, with students sitting in at the Vice-Chancellor’s office to call for divestment of fossil fuel interests.

Fossil free UTAS reported hundreds of people had gathered to register their disapproval of the university’s $30 million worth of investments in companies supporting fossil fuels.

Months of talks and pressure on the university culminated in the sit-in yesterday, with students frustrated at the lack of action taken by the university.

Fossil Free UTAS spokesperson Mell Jones said it was frustrating and “totally unacceptable” that courses at the university taught about impacts of climate change and the need for action, whilst UTAS continued to invest in fossil fuel industries.

“The University is a publicly owned institution with a constitution that states it must act to benefit its constituents – the students and their future,” she said.

“From its actions, we can only assume that UTAS has been stalling or it is completely uninterested in listening to students’ concerns.”

“UTAS is a world leader in climate research, it was just awarded a $26m grant for Antarctic research–but there won’t be any ice left to study if it and other institutions keep investing in fossil fuels.”

“Divesting from fossil fuel companies not only makes good environmental and social sense, given the inevitable shift to alternative energy sources, it would be wise to divest before the market moves on and investment values plummets.”

Jones said the students were prepared to stay at the sit-in, as they had all they need to “stay here for days.”

“We had a good night’s sleep,” she said.

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