Due: Wednesday, March
4, in DGD
Worth: 19% of course grade
Length: minimum 3,000
words (counting all sections, including bibliography)
Deliver in hard copy, printed on 8½ x 11 white
paper. No email submissions or handwritten
drafts will be accepted.
Lessons: Impact Chapter 8: “Formal Reports”: to
page 165. See especially the pp. 155–165
The Little Pearson Handbook Chapters 10, 11, 13, and 15. Please read the lessons in advance of
General instruction: Yes or no? By your judgment, should
the University of Ottawa’s Board of Governors announce immediately a policy of full divestment of fossil-fuel-industry investment for the university’s $294 million endowment
portfolio, with a target date of summer 2024 for completion?
Such a strategy
would be in step with recent announcements from the University of British
Columbia, from Concordia University, and from certain universities in other
countries. For example, in September, the
multi-campus University of California announced it had completed
divesting all fossil-fuel assets from its $13.4 billion endowment. And just now on Feb. 6, Georgetown University
in Washington, D.C., announced a full-divestment policy, with a target date of
—a “pro-divestment” journalistic treatment of the University
of California divestment
Wall Street Journal, Sept. 23, 2019: “The University
of California Divests”
—an “anti-divestment” treatment of the same event. To access, log into ProQuest at the U Ottawa
Back in 2016, the
University of Ottawa’s Board of Governors voted against full divestment, deeming
it “an insufficient response on its own” to the climate-change challenge: https://www.uottawa.ca/administration-and-governance/board-of-governors/addressing-global-warming. In
rejecting full divestment, U Ottawa is in line with many other institutions,
such as McGill University, Yale University in the U.S., and Oxford University
in the U.K., all of which have announced policies of responsible-investment “climate
awareness” that nevertheless do not aim at full divestment. These universities have publicly defended
their measured approach with a variety of arguments—some of which you can
access through links listed below, on page 3 of this assignment sheet. Yet assuming that U Ottawa’s Board of
Governors might be willing to reconsider its current position, could the time
be right for the Board to change its mind?
If the U O Board of
Governors were to ask your advice, what would you tell them: divest
fully or not? And what facts and arguments would you offer—based on about 15 hours of
research by you—to support your advice?
Your report will be
addressed to the Kathryn
Butler Malette, the chair of U Ottawa’s Board of
Governors. The report’s main section is
called the Discussion of Findings, and your Discussion of Findings will have
(1) a definition of what exactly “full divestment” means in this situation, including
brief explanations of (a) what is a university endowment, (b) what are fossil-fuel
investments, (c) what might be considered problematic about them, and (d) what
is the difference between full divestment and the approach currently taken by U
Ottawa or McGill?
(2) a presentation of the argument in favour of U Ottawa divesting
(3) a presentation of the argument against
After these three
segments, your report will make its recommendation.
Your assignment: You’ll write a formal report,
addressed to Ms. Malette, advising whether
or not the university should change
its strategy and announce full divestment.
You must advise either yes or no.
Other answers are not accepted.
If you advise Ms.
Malette that yes, the university should divest fully of all
fossil-fuel-industry investments, what reasons do you give? Why do the benefits outweigh the
If you advise “No,
the university should not divest fully,” then what reasons do you
give? How could full divestment be a wrong
idea, in the face of our approaching climate disaster?
In writing this report, you’re not a University of Ottawa student. Instead, imagine that you work for a business
consultancy called Lamplighters Corporation, at 139 Sparks Street,
Ottawa K1P 5B5; phone 613-563-1509; The University of Ottawa’s Board of Governors
has hired Lamplighters to advise on
which course of action the Board should take.
Your boss at
Lamplighters assigns you to write the report.
He says, “Start your research by trying to understand both sides: the
argument against full divestment and the argument in favour of it.”
In upcoming ENG1131 classes, we’ll discuss research procedures. You
will consult published journalism, websites, and online forums. Much of the best information has been
published recently, in 2018–2020. Please
plan to do about 15 hours of
research: Less time than that will almost certainly produce poor results. Plan to look at 50 sources at least, of which
you’ll have to list at least 30 in your bibliography.
To get you started, there are 16 sources listed in this
assignment sheet: You may borrow any or all of them for your bibliography. However, these 16 sources are mainly introductory:
Even all together, they only begin to tell you what you’ll need to know
for your report.
● See the paradigm
at Impact pp. 155–165 and the lesson
at pp. 148–154. Your report should be
single-spaced but with line-spaces between paragraphs and between listed
● Your report must show the eight required parts as taught in Impact: title page, letter of
transmittal, table of contents, executive summary, introduction, discussion of
findings (= main body of the report), recommendation, and a bibliography or
● Although the Impact paradigm
uses both a “Recommendations” and a “Conclusion” section (pp. 162–164), your
report could show just one such section, to be titled probably “Recommendation”
(singular) or possibly “Recommendations” (plural).
● Your report must show headings and subheads.
● Your bibliography or “References” section must list at least 30 English-language print sources, each of which should be
either a published article or report or a website; newspaper articles should
predominate. Beyond these 30 print
sources, you may use any sources you wish, in any language (such as French) or
any medium (such as video). Your
bibliography should be formatted in APA style, as detailed in Pearson pp. 122–133. See also the model
bibliographies at Pearson pp. 138–140 and Impact p. 165.
● Your report’s main text must show at
least 12 source-notes (or “in-text citations”) in APA style.
The number 12 is an absolute minimum, to help simplify instructors’
marking. More than 12 source-notes will be
needed for a student to earn a good grade on the report.
● Examples of APA-style parenthesized source-notes appear in Pearson pp. 118–121 and 136–138 and Impact
● Not every source
in your bibliography need also appear in a source-note in your text. However, every source among your source-notes
should logically also appear in your bibliography.
your letter of transmittal to—
Kathryn Butler Malette
Chair of the Board of Governors
University of Ottawa
75 Laurier Avenue East
Evaluation: Your report will be graded on—
1) your argument and grasp-of-facts in support
of your recommendation
2) your research, as reflected in your
bibliography, source-notes, and chosen facts and arguments
3) your clarity of writing, including word use,
grammar, and spelling
4) your use of proper formatting for a formal