At this point, the news surprises nobody: students at U of T are campaigning for action to mitigate the climate crisis. Protestors are speaking up against mega fossil-fuel-obsessed conglomerate Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) for their involvement with our institution. Hell, this isn’t even my first time writing about Climate Justice UofT — and with the way U of T likes to approach climate concerns at its leisurely, glacial pace, it likely will not be the last.
I am tired. Climate Justice UofT is probably tired too. The student body is worn, protestors are exhausted — we are all so, so tired. It has been years of lobbying the higher ups, months of carrying protest signs through St. George, and a lifetime of speaking out and standing up for what we believe in. Yet, U of T has continually turned a blind eye.
It’s not like we should be surprised, either; the institution seems to have an ever-so-lovely track record of tuning out the students — despite its entire existence being made… for students? How ironic. From taking over half a decade to begin to divest from fossil fuels themselves to employing dangerous, problematic professors, the bureaucracy likes to let things fester and rot until the issues become too big to ignore.
Thus, I raise the question: how many more of these protests need to occur before someone finally listens? How many more News reports, Comment pieces, and Business articles need to be put out for us to finally matter? The astounding lack of response from U of T continues to cement the infuriating, belittling fact: we do not matter — at least, not compared to the big green dollar sign that seems to have the institution on a dog leash.
The people will undoubtedly continue to fight, and I have immense confidence that Climate Justice UofT is far from giving up. Until the very last RBC ATM is wheeled off campus, people will not stop speaking up. However, the focus should be less about what the student body is doing, what they’re fighting for, what the issue is, and why we should care. At this point, we are more than aware. It’s time we start probing into the other side of this tug of war: what is the bureaucracy saying, if anything? And most importantly, when will they finally respond?
Isabella Liu is a second-year student at Victoria College studying public policy and international relations. She is an associate comment editor at The Varsity.