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Shellhousie flag flies in protest of Dal’s relationship with oil company

Two weeks after Shell Canada announced a $600,000 donation to Dalhousie, campus activist group Divest Dalhousie has added a redesigned Dalhousie flag bearing a Shell logo to the Studley campus flagpole.

Dal News, Dalhousie’s administration-run newspaper, announced on March 25 that $500,000 of Shell’s contribution is scheduled to fund trips, lectures and other activities for Dal students in certain faculties.

The remaining $100,000 is going towards a new Offshore Energy Fund, a fund intended on supporting “student learning opportunities related to offshore oil and gas exploration and development.”

Since September 2013, Divest Dal have advocated for Dalhousie administration to divest the university’s endowment funds from companies found on a list of public companies with the greatest carbon content in their fossil fuel holdings.

With dozens of members routinely in the audience throughout 2014 meetings of Dalhousie’s Board of Governors, the group repeatedly broke attendance records. Their largest showing was at the meeting of Nov. 25, 2014, when the board voted to accept recommendations from a board committee that the university not divest.

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Divest Dal campaigner and student Bethany Hindmarsh says in a press release, “Dal’s administrators and board chose the wrong side in the fight against climate change, and Dr. Richard Florizone and Dal’s Board of Governors are more invested in ‘Shellhousie’ than in a sustainable future for all faculty, staff, and students at Dal.”

“Dal’s administrative bodies have shown that they are so beholden to that polluting industry that they are unable to make decisions in the university’s best interest. They’ve chosen not to divest from fossil fuels, ignoring evidence of the benefits of divestment as well as calls from the Dalhousie Students’ Union and Dalhousie Faculty Association.”

The same day as the announcement of Shell’s donation, the Gazette sent off to print a satire issue envisioning a nightmare version of Dalhousie in 2038 where Studley campus is a fracking site and Board of Governors member Hoggish Greedly is adamant about waiting for the return of gasoline-fuelled cars before the university commits to divestment. We have not yet received any complaints about this issue’s humour being too crude.

See some of the discussion held on the #shellhousie hashtag below.

Jesse Ward
Jesse Ward
Jesse, editor-in-chief of the Gazette, is a fifth-year student of journalism at Dalhousie and the University of King’s College. He started university with three years of experience writing for Teens Now Talk magazine, where he is now copy editor. Before writing a story Jesse likes to think about how his metal detector could finally be useful in researching this one, but there is never a way it could be. Jesse has produced writing and interactive features for Globalnews.ca and The Chronicle Herald. He may be followed on Twitter, @RealJesseWard, or from the Gazette office on Mondays around 8 p.m. to his home in West End Halifax. Email Jesse at editor@dalgazette.com.
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