Today the full Board of Regents of UH voted on whether to approve their Budget and Finance Committee’s proposal of a task group which would look into divesting and review the university’s investment and sustainability policies.
Chair Moore had asked us to minimize written testimony, so DivestUH had just two speakers. Dr. John Webster spoke about financial evidence and financial arguments from three sources, including UH’s own investment manager; about integrating the sustainability that UH teaches into its portfolio; and about doing the right thing. Dr. Mark Hixon spoke about the science, the emotional loss, the economic and social costs, and the documented effects on Hawaii (past and projected). Both emphasized divestment’s symbolic value. A good 50 people turned out to raise their hands in support, at Mark’s prompting—a fitting exclamation point to everyone’s efforts. Mahalo nui loa to everyone who took time to come.
Regent Sullivan summarized the testimony from the last meeting, mentioned our 1,330 signatures and announced who would be in the task group: Joe, Doorae and Leilei (all DivestUHers); Regents Nielsen, Tagorda, Matayoshi and Sullivan; and administrators to be named later. Recommendations on divestment would be due April 30; recommendations on sustainability practices would be due June 30.
And then, all 15 regents voted to approve the task group, with no dissent. Actual divestment still requires several more steps, but at this point it could not look better.