A University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents committee approved the formation of a task group to evaluate and recommend how the university can divest itself (sell) of its interests in fossil fuel companies, or those with the greatest carbon reserves. The task group would also study the university’s energy reduction and broader sustainability policies and practices.
The task group would consist of members of the Board of Regents, administration, UH investment advisors, the UH Graduate Student Organization, the Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and DivestUH, a coalition supporting divestment from fossil fuel companies.
The action by the board’s budget and finance committee followed public testimony by 18 supporters of divestment from fossil fuel companies. The board also received 477 written testimonies supporting divestment.
“The university has led the state in many major public policy issues and this is clearly one of the biggest policy issues that the state is facing. This is not a simple issue—we have to evaluate what currently exists and evaluate what other universities have done,” said Regent Jan Sullivan, chair of the budget and finance committee.
“The DivestUH group is very appreciative that the committee has voted to advance to the full Board of Regents a proposal for an inclusive task force which would look further into not only divesting UH from fossil fuels, but it’s kuleana regarding climate change and sustainability in general. We are very optimistic given that each committee member present as well as five other board members voiced a level of support,” said Brodie Lockard from DivestUH.
“The DivestUH group is very appreciative that the committee has voted to advance to the full Board of Regents a proposal for an inclusive task force which would look further into not only divesting UH from fossil fuels, but it’s kuleana regarding climate change and sustainability in general,” said Brodie Lockard from DivestUH.
“Divestment means that UH students, faculty, staff and alumni can move firmly toward a better future, with the Board of Regents leading the way. That future includes a society and economy less in the deathgrip—quite literally—of fossil fuels companies,” Lockard said.
The proposal now goes to the full board.