Presidential Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels

PDAD&C #37, 2014-15

To:  Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs 
From:    President Meric S. Gertler 
Date:  November 3, 2014 
Re:  Presidential Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels 

On March 6, 2014, I received a petition from a student group requesting that the University of Toronto “fully divest from fossil fuel companies within the next five years and to immediately stop investing new money in the industry”. The President’s Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels has been created under the terms of the University's Policy on Social and Political Issues With Respect to University Divestment. Its mandate is to review the petition and accompanying brief, and – first and foremost – consider the University’s response to the call for divestment. The Committee may also reflect more generally on the University’s most appropriate and effective responses to the challenges posed by climate change. The Committee will bring recommendations to me within a year of the date of its first meeting.

The Committee's membership has been approved by the Executive Committee of the Governing Council as follows:

• Bryan Karney, Chair (Associate Dean, Cross-Disciplinary Programs, Professor and Chair,
Division of Environmental Engineering & Energy Systems)
• Peter Burns (Professor and Chair, Department of Medical Biophysics)
• Susan Christoffersen (Associate Professor of Finance, Rotman School of Management)
• Graham Coulter (Second-year National Scholar at Innis College)
• Andrew Green (Associate Professor, Faculty of Law)
• Matt Hoffman (Associate Professor, Political Science, UTSC)
• Arthur Hosios (Professor and Chair, Economics)
• Mohan Matthen (Professor and Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Perception,
Department of Philosophy, UTM)
• Carl Mitchell (Alumnus, Past President UTAA, Chief Operating Officer, MED e-care Health
Care Solutions Inc.)
• Rita O’Brien (Acting Warden and Chief Administrative Officer, Hart House)
• Barbara Sherwood Lollar (University Professor, Canada Research Chair in Isotope
Geochemistry of the Earth and the Environment, Earth Sciences)

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels will call for submissions formally in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the Committee welcomes all comments and suggestions, which should be sent to Dr. Tony Gray in my office (

In closing, I am very grateful to the Committee’s members for agreeing to take up this important task. I am confident that they will carry out their mandate with the same degree of expertise and excellence that they bring to everything they do.