The University of Auckland Council is to hold a vote on Monday 7 December. The result will determine whether the council encourages its associated foundations to divest from fossil fuels.
Student representatives have composed a report and gathered 2500 signatures from students, alumni and staff for a petition asking that the university promotes removal of investments from the fossil fuel industry. The report and the petition will both be presented to the University Council.
The report argues that combating climate change is in keeping with the University's Strategic Plan, which declares specifically that "despite the many challenges we face today, we cannot plunder the future in order to pay for the present."
Fossil Free University of Auckland spokesperson Alex Johnston says, "As world leaders meet in Paris to negotiate a global climate change agreement, it is the perfect time for the University of Auckland Council to show leadership in response to the climate crisis by divesting from polluting industries.
"Benchmark institutions such as Australian National University, Oxford University, and the University of Glasgow have all shown leadership and divested. This is a chance for the University of Auckland to do the same, and to fulfill the goal of the Strategic Plan to be a sustainable university of international standing."
Jeanette Fitzsimons, a University of Auckland distinguished alumni award winner, environmental campaigner and former co-leader of the Green Party, says "I would be delighted to see my alma mater take leadership intellectually, morally, and prudentially by divesting from fossil fuel investments.
"We owe our children a climate that allows them to flourish. We owe our donors a safe investment which will not be stranded as unburnable carbon."
If the University of Auckland Council do vote to encourage divestment in fossil fuels, they will join nearly 500 other universities, pension funds, churches and city councils around the world that have removed over $2.6 trillion in investments from industries that contribute to climate change so far.