On Dec 6, the UVic Senate gathered for their last meeting of 2019. It must have been the cold outside which kept the Senators in late, as they debated hard over a few of their topics for the evening.
Before getting into the formal agenda, Jamie Cassels, UVic’s president, asked for a moment of silence in recognition of the National Day of Rememberance and Action on Violence Against Women, which comemorates those who were killed during the shooting at Ecole Polytechnique in 1989.
After the moment of silence, the hottest topic on the agenda was, of course, divestment.
In the president’s address, Cassels spoke to the upcoming decision the Board of Governors has said they will make regarding the potential divestment of the university’s short term investments and bonds from fossil fuels.
“Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time,” said Cassels. “Investing responsibly is the right thing to do.” He wondered what the right tools were to accomplish this task. He then expressed the difficulties faced in getting the decision right.
“The board has agreed that we need enhanced attention to responsible investing,” Cassels concluded. “Divestment…is on the table.”
A small amount of time was taken to discuss the new student residences currently under construction. The $201 million dollar project is still two and a half years out from completion, and the rental rates as well as many other decisions of interest have yet to be decided.
Then came several motions, many regarding the Faculty of Education. Several of these motions were heavily debated, particularly the one concerning the removal of a foreign language requirement from the faculty’s graduation requirements.
Despite the lengthy debate, all motions on the agenda were approved.
The next Senate meeting will occur on Jan 10, 2020 at 3:30pm in the Senate Chambers at the University Center.