The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
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Student Petition Reopens Divestment Discussion

Student+Petition+Reopens+Divestment+Discussion

Throughout the month of September, student activists will collect signatures to amend the constitution of ASUU in support of fossil fuel divestment. The goal is to put more momentum behind the three-year-old divestment campaign and promote a more environmentally-conscious university.

“The activists underscore the powerful symbolic message divesting from fossil fuels would send to university students and political leaders and communities throughout Utah,” said a recent press release from the U. “They believe that divestment will communicate to state legislators that climate change and air pollution are serious environmental crises that require immediate action.”

This is not the first time divestment has been proposed. “Two years ago, activists petitioned ASUU’s legislature to support divestment, and while the ASUU Assembly supported the resolution, the ASUU Senate continuously delayed voting on the resolution and ultimately rejected it,” said the U’s press release.

The campaign was rekindled when the Board of Trustees and President Pershing announced that they would neither consider nor vote on the resolution supporting divestment made by the Academic Senate.

“The Trustees probably thought that the students would not notice if they rejected divestment in the summer,” said Drew Kennedy, a junior in environmental studies and geography. “But with this amendment, we make sure that the divestment campaign doesn’t disappear.”

According to ASUU’s constitution, activists need to collect 500 student signatures in support of the amendment and submit it to ASUU. The ASUU Supreme Court will then review the signatures and the whole student body will vote within their colleges. If students vote in favor of the amendment, the Board of Trustees and Special Joint Review Committee will then have to consider whether they will approve or deny it.

Student efforts to pass the divestment amendment are not guaranteed approval. “If ASUU shoots down a referendum approved by the student body, it will ruin both student democracy and ASUU’s legitimacy for years,” said Stephen Michael Christian, a graduate student in political science.

“Faculty and students in the past have done a fantastic job in fighting for divestment and we cannot stop just because university leaders sold out to big coal,” said Kennedy. “Pershing’s reasoning for rejecting the Academic Senate’s resolution is unacceptable.”

The petition has already amassed a over 200 signatures. By posting themselves around campus, proponents of divestment hope to have 1,000 signees by the end of this month.

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