Students from Vassar College’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign began a peaceful sit-in protest on Monday, calling for full divestment from fossil fuel companies.
Only a few days after student protesters at Columbia University ceased their own occupation of the University President’s offices, students from Vassar College in New York have begun their own peaceful sit-in protest, calling on the College’s Board of Trustees to divest from direct holdings in fossil fuel companies “and give students a meaningful voice in college affairs.” The students currently intend to occupy the hallway outside the office of President Catharine Hill for this week, “with plans to escalate if their demands are not met.”
Specifically, the Vassar students are requesting that the College divest from the 200 corporations that hold the largest coal, oil, and gas reserves, as well as to restructure the College’s administration “to empower the voices of its students, faculty, and alumni.” In line with the continually growing groundswell of university action for fossil fuel divestment, this protest is the biggest climate-related protest in Vassar’s history.
“I joined the campaign when it started in my freshman year, and I’ve experienced first-hand how the administration continues to delay on this important issue,” explained Martin Man (Class of 2016), a senior in the Campaign. “The international divestment campaign is a coordinated vote of no-confidence, shifting the discourse around our use of fossil fuels.
“We cannot continue to fund our education with profits made from fossil fuel exploitation, which destroys communities and lives, not just the environment. How can Vassar claim to be a leader when it has so clearly fallen behind in the fight for climate justice?”
In advance of the protest, Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, Chair and Trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, issued a statement in support of the Vassar Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign:
“The Vassar College Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign is playing an essential role in the growing movement among individuals, communities, and institutions to align their investments with their missions and values. My beloved grandmother Blanchette attended and adored Vassar, and the Rockefeller family is proud of our long relationship with the College.
“The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is grateful that young leaders have assumed a leadership role in fighting the climate change that endangers their future. We welcome the collaboration as we all seek to ensure a just, sustainable, and peaceful world.”
Image Credit: Vassar College Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, Facebook