Representatives from IU Student Government, Students for a Green New World and Sunrise Bloomington met with IU President Pamela Whitten and JT Forbes, the IU Foundation President, on Feb. 9 to discuss IU’s climate goals.
The student representatives left the meeting feeling frustrated with the lack of progress made, SNGW President Sidd Das said.
“I was disappointed with the IU administration and the new president,” Das said. “There has been no formal commitment to creating a climate action plan.”
During the meeting, President Whitten mentioned she has asked Tom Morrison, the vice president of capital planning, to form a committee to address long term climate goals but did not provide details such as a timeline or who would be on the committee, Das said.
Morrison put emphasis on smaller actions, such as making buildings more energy efficient or using electric cars, Das said.
Related: [Sunrise Bloomington holds rally to pressure IU Foundation to divest from fossil fuels]
The university’s vague phrasing and focus on short-term action undermined the importance of a long-term climate action plan, SNGW said in a press release.
Sunrise member Alyson Alde asked Forbes if the IU Foundation plans to divest from fossil fuel companies but Forbes did not answer, according to a press release from Sunrise Bloomington.
“It was especially disappointing to see JT Forbes avoid Sunrise Bloomington’s request for a meeting with the IU Foundation,” Das said.
Forbes stated he would only continue dialogue on the topic if Sunrise Bloomington works together with student and faculty governance, according to the press release.
There have been calls from student and faculty government organizations for the IU Foundation to divest from fossil fuels since 2014.
“We appreciated the opportunity to discuss matters of sustainability concerning Indiana University and look forward to more constructive conversations with students and our IU community moving forward,” IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said.
SNGW continued its efforts after the meeting, holding protests around groups of prospective students touring IU’s campus.
“We will not settle for ineffective plans that the university concedes to us, and we’ll keep protesting for a commitment to a transparent creation and implementation of a climate action plan,” Das said.