Students receive degrees covered in oil protesting UoA investments
A mock graduation ceremony was held today where degrees covered in oil were handed out to students in protest at the University of Auckland’s failure to divest from fossil fuel companies.
Student group Fossil Free University of Auckland held the ceremony in the University quad in front of around 100 students, representing the way the University is undermining its students’ research into climate change, by investing in the very companies causing the damage.
“It is a shame and an embarrassment that the University of Auckland doesn’t have its money where its mouth is on climate change”, said Áine Kelly-Costello, Fossil Free University of Auckland co-leader, at the protest.
“Despite supporting our research, they continue to invest money given in good faith by alumni into fossil fuel companies that undermine our future and are the most significant drivers of climate change.”
The students, dressed in graduation robes, received large degrees for climate research, only for oil to be poured over them in front of the angry crowd. The officiator of the ceremony declared “With compliments of Shell, BP, and Exxon Mobil.”
The University of Auckland is one of the only universities in New Zealand without an ethical investment policy for its $80 million Endowment Foundation, and Victoria and Otago Universities have both divested their Foundations from fossil fuel companies.
Kelly-Costello said that “it’s time for the University of Auckland to honour its commitment to sustainability, and catch up to world-leading universities like Stanford, London School of Economics and Australian National University by divesting from the fossil fuel industry.”