Comment on the University Assembly’s anti-divestment resolution

At the Cornell University Assembly’s meeting on Tuesday, the chair of the UA, Jim Blair, introduced Resolution 16 that explicitly “declares against divestment” while supporting the goal of zero carbon emissions by 2035. We know that divestment cannot be separated from carbon emission goals.

Here’s the resolution: Cornell UA Resolution 16

This resolution will be voted on at the UA’s meeting on May 6.

You can submit your thoughts on this resolution at: https://assembly.cornell.edu/staffing/motions/312

The comment period closes this Thursday, May 1 at 11:59PM (UA comment periods are usually 30 days — this one is just 6!).

Some talking points:

  • Divestment cannot be separated from carbon neutrality – one without the other is an incomplete and hypocritical act.
  • Being dismissive of symbolism is unjust – divestment is symbolic, yes, but also has very real political implications. It can easily be argued that carbon neutrality is a symbolic act in that it only has a tangible effect in its ability to inspire other institutions to do the same. That is exactly what divestment seeks to do.
  • No one can claim to know why each donor gives to the University, and to try to do so is egregious
  • World-class research doesn’t accomplish anything if politics lies upstream of it, preventing its full-scale implementation. “Educating” students that hypocrisy is okay is not education at all.
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