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NYU Divest Sit-in Has Immediate Response

The New York University Divest campaign has secured a meeting with the school’s Board of Trustees after a sit-in demonstration in the administrative offices.

On Wednesday, the NYU Divest campaign, made up of a coalition of students, faculty, and alumni, who are all calling on the New York University (NYU) to divest from fossil fuels, held a sit-in at the administrative offices of the school’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library in response to what they described as “delayed action on the issue of fossil fuel divestment.”

12360088_1002455229817816_7422026103489001082_nOn Thursday, the campaign announced via its Facebook page that “the administration rapidly met our demands for a scheduled Board of Trustees meeting and to be put in contact with a Board liaison.”

“Given the urgency of climate change, it is unacceptable that the administration has taken so long to deliver on these promises,” said Robert Flanagan, a core member of NYU Divest. “That is why we were forced to sit in. We are heartened that this process is now moving forward with transparency and accountability and expect for it to continue that way.”

The primary “win” for the campaigners was the promise of a meeting with, and an opportunity to present to, the Board Subcommittee on Fossil Fuel Divestment as soon as possible at the start of the Spring 2016 semester — which is currently scheduled to take place before the end of January, and no later than some time during February.

The campaign similarly has its own expectations for the process before the school’s Board of Trustees, including:

  1. We expect that the composition of the subcommittee be diverse in opinion, background, and experience so that NYU Divest is given a fair and unbiased hearing.
  2. We expect that members of NYU Divest will be included in all meetings of the subcommittee for the purpose of transparency and fairness.
  3. We expect that the issue of fossil fuel divestment be on the full Board’s agenda to discuss and consider by the end of the Spring of 2016. Given the pressing and urgent nature of climate change, as well as the time already spent investigating this issue by the University Senate, which passed a resolution in favor, this is a reasonable timeframe.
  4. We request that members of NYU Divest be present for the duration of the discussion of fossil fuel divestment at the full Board meeting for the purpose of transparency and accountability.

“From violence in Syria worsened by drought to flooding in India, the effects of climate change are already being felt,” said Olivia Rich, another core member of NYU Divest. “We are running out of time. This crisis is disproportionately impacting communities of color and the world’s poor, while wealthy governments and institutions are complicit in the fossil fuel industry’s actions. This is about justice. NYU has to divest and has to keep its promises. That’s why I chose to sit in.”

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