Boston College has acquired a reputation for having an uncompromising university administration. More often than not, it seems like the administration aims to earn a profit rather than taking student voices into account.
Worse still, the issues not being heard are those involving climate change, which will have a greater influence on students’ lives than it will on those of the administration. The borderline negligent administration may not be around to see the destruction of rainforests or the true end to the great barrier reef, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t take into account what we, the generation of their children and grandchildren, will live to see. So far, they’ve failed to do that at every turn by refusing to take into account student input on divestment.
Often, poorer populations bear the burden of the adverse effects of climate change while many of the wealthy, who are able to ignore the rising sea levels and change in precipitation patterns, will be comfortable doing so. BC’s mission statement claims that the university, “ . . . is rooted in a world view that encounters God in all creation and through all human activity.” This indicates a commitment to enacting ethical and environmentally conscious policies. Ignoring that commitment for profit's sake is far from ethical. Even putting aside environmental injustice, Christian stewardship is a value a Jesuit school should be able to understand.
Divestment is not only an issue of ethics—economics plays a large role. While profitable now, fossil fuel industries will start to suffer when the finite amount of fossil fuels becomes scarce. If BC wants to remain financially stable, then it only makes sense to invest in a sustainable, economical industry.
Many students strive to raise awareness on climate change issues, and BC has taken some steps in the right direction. The new student residence building, 2150, is a LEED NC Silver building and has a water filtration and recycling system, and Mac has begun composting. However, we cannot celebrate these advancements while the administration ignores the greater problem of divestment.
The world we live in has a timestamp, and the BC administration is unconcerned with it. Although students continue to rally and protest, it is not likely to elicit a reaction from the administration. Students have accepted the administrative inertia and have come to expect less from it as a result.
There’s an issue of accountability at stake, and the people in positions of leadership at BC must accept that they have a responsibility enact positive change that will have a real impact on the BC community and the rest of the world. So many other schools and businesses have taken executive action to combat climate change from their corner of the world, so why should BC get to pass?