University of British Columbia Faculty Association members early next year will vote on whether to ask the university's board of governors to divest its C$1.35 billion (US$1.19 billion) Vancouver-based endowment's holdings in fossil-fuel stocks within five years.
Members of the association on Monday voted 497-260 in favor of holding a referendum Jan. 26-Feb. 8 on its responsible divestment proposal, according to the association's website. If that is approved, the university's board of governors will be asked to drop the endowment's fossil fuel-related stock holdings, valued at about C$100 million.
The proposal, if passed, would also ask that the endowment no longer make new investments in oil, gas and coal companies.
It would be up to the board of governors whether to consider the divestiture request regardless of the outcome of the referendum. UBC Investment Management Trust, a manager-of-managers subsidiary of the university, oversees investments of the endowment as well as the C$1.19 billion UBC Staff Pension Plan, Vancouver, and other university assets.
The proposal was crafted by members of UBCC350, a group of university faculty, staff and students that advocates climate action. The group is not associated with the faculty association, said Mark Mac Lean, faculty association president, in an e-mailed response to questions. “Instead, this proposal is one that UBCC350 is asking UBC faculty members to support,” Mr. Mac Lean said.
If considered by the university, it could follow the lead of several universities considering or deciding to divest fossil-fuel investments. American University's board of trustees next week could vote on divesting fossil-fuel holdings from the university's $550 million endowment fund. University of Glasgow and University of Dayton have recently decided to divest from fossil-fuel companies, and Stanford University recently decided to divest from coal-related companies.
Officials at the UBC Treasury, UBC Investment Management Trust and the faculty association could not be reached for further details.