A whistleblower has got in touch with student press to criticize the University of Glasgow over its lack of commitment to meaningfully managing carbon emissions.
The whistleblower claims that the Carbon Management Committee (CMC) have not met in over a year. The CMC is a group of staff and student representatives who supposedly meet every three or four months to discuss sustainability issues on campus. According to the whistleblower, meetings have consistently been put-off or delayed without sufficient communication to members.
According to our source, the CMC acts as the final confirmation for most sustainable issues on campus. Its recent inactivity has therefore hindered progress in schemes such as rooftop gardens, allotments and carbon monitoring. Moreover, it means that students are being excluded from the process of internal decision-making.
There is little information about the CMC available on the university website, and it is not clear how students can get involved in the first place.
This would seem to contradict the university’s enthusiastic endorsement of widely publicized developments such as the decision made in October to divest from the fossil fuel industry. University of Glasgow made national and international headlines by becoming the first academic institution in the UK to do so. However its failure to hold CMC meetings in a timely fashion raises concerns that the university is more preoccupied with its image than with actually affecting meaningful change.
The spotlight will again be on the university at the annual EAUC (the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges) conference on the 23rd to the 25th of March at Leeds University, where GUEST (Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team) will showcase work on sustainability at the university. It’s therefore rather embarrassing and more than a little concerning that the CMC has not been proactive over the past year.
When qmunicate got in touch with the university, they denied allegations that it is taking a lacklustre approach to tackling environmental issues, telling us that the CMC will finally meet on the 18th of March. A university spokesperson also highlighted £40 000 of funding for GUEST (Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team) that was enacted through the Carbon Management Committee. The spokesperson insisted that “The University of Glasgow is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and we are doing all that we can to make our campus as environmentally friendly as possible”.
When questioned as to why the CMC has been so inactive recently, the spokesperson adds; “It has been challenging to arrange meetings over the past year, partly because of diary commitments. However, going forward the University is determined that the CMC will meet regularly and that the remit will be widened to ensure that our decisions are properly informed with appropriate environmental considerations.”
qmunicate also spoke to a representative of GUEST, who refrained from directly criticising the university, but told us “the Carbon Management Committee provides an invaluable tool to report on the existing situation, current developments and future recommendations for sustainability policy and progress at Gilmorehill. We feel that in order to improve the University’s environmental and sustainability agenda, inter-department collaboration should be encouraged and an open discussion space should be provided regularly.”
SRC vice president Student Support Liam King was disappointed with the university’s progress this year, saying that while the university has plans to create an overarching sustainablity policy, the failure of CMC to meet for nearly a year means that this policy is still at least 6 months away and has hindered a number of projects that the SRC and others are trying to develop.