Cambridge Zero Carbon Society has criticised the University once again for its decision not to divest, and is calling for the resignation of the University’s Chief Financial Officer Anthony Odgers, Chief Investment Officer Nick Cavaller, and Director of Finance David Hughes.
The University Council had met on 8 June to discuss the future of the University’s £6.3 billion endowment fund, but ultimately decided not to divest from fossil fuel companies. Zero Carbon President Eleanor Salter described Cambridge, in a press release, as “captured by financial interests”, and “in thrall to an investment office staffed by profit-hungry mandarins”.
Zero Carbon also emphasised the dissent within the University Council itself, with four of the Council’s trustees openly disagreeing with the rejection of divestment. Nick Gay and Alice Hutchings have criticised “the prevailing culture of secrecy and hostility to oversight within the Investment Office”, with student trustees also decrying the Council’s decision as “[inconsistent] with Cambridge’s mission”.
This, according to Zero Carbon, reflects the “unanimous desire on the part of the University membership for stronger action on climate breakdown”.
The Council rejected all of its Divestment Working Group’s recommendations during the meeting, agreeing instead to appoint an investment officer. Zero Carbon has nevertheless labelled this move “so meaningless as to be insulting” and “utterly insufficient”. It adds that “we are witnessing a slow-motion palace coup, as the University’s democracy and values are sacrificed at the altar of profit and Big Oil.”