This evening, the following motion was passed at the University of Ottawa:
The board should ask the finance and treasury committee to do the following:
- Develop a strategy to shift Ottawa fossil fuel related investments towards investments and enterprises, especially those in Canada, involved in creating and selling technologies of the future, including renewable energy and other clean technology solutions.
- Determine a reasonable time period within which that shift can occur
- Report to the board annually starting in the fall of 2017 on its progress seeking further direction as it may require
The exec committee further recommends the board reassess this strategy to determine whether market conditions or any other factors require a change in this strategy.
Obviously the team there deserves huge congratulations for their success. Every institution that takes action makes it easier for campaigns elsewhere to succeed, and harder for opponents to argue that taking action is too risky or not necessary.
That being said, this motion is arguably similarly vague to what U of T decided (although they are admittedly not putting UTAM in charge of implementation). The U of T campaign could have taken a radically different approach to the decision here and portrayed it as a partial success building toward something adequate. Such a response would have had to be agreed in advance, however, and given the mood of the U of T group may not have been possible. Even suggesting it may have exacerbated the deep disagreements about what sort of tactics and messaging are desirable and how success should be measured.