Let's take a moment to recognize the extraordinary moral commitment displayed by Dr. Greg Mikkelson, who resigned from his position as professor of environmental ethics who worked in the department of philosophy and the McGill School of the Environment. Dr. Mikkelson introduced the latest motion to divest from fossil fuels at the McGill Senate, a motion that was carried by a majority of votes but subsequently rejected by the Board of Governors CAMSR. Dr. Mikkelson also worked with the McGill Communities Council as a representative from the McGill Association of University Teachers, where he has been a key ally for solidarity between McGill unions and worker associations, and a voice of democratic governance at the university.
The call to divest comes from an understanding of the historical role of the university in driving movements of political change. While our peers across North America are taking up this moral responsibility by committing to divestment from the fossil fuel industry, McGill's BoG seems to have lost sight of this responsibility (but they can explain it themselves at Senate this afternoon). Dr. Mikkelson's resignation reminds us that the substance of the university is not its corporate leadership, but its academic community.
The fight for climate justice is not over. The community is mobilizing a working group to find new ways to apply pressure to McGill and to expand the scope of divestment beyond fossil fuels toward a stronger standard of ethical practices (looking at you, Barrick Gold). Email email@example.com to get involved.