Earlier in the week on March 16th, students and alumni occupied an administrative building at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. In the Clarendon Building there, they protested the University’s decision to delay a commitment to divest from the fossil fuel industry.
Today KGNU received word from our Oakland correspondent during a phone call with a protester that Swarthmore College students have occupied the Investments and Finance Office of the college. The group entered the building at 9 a.m. and say that they have no plans to leave until “university administrators agree to return to negotiations on a divestment plan.”
The office is the target of dozens of students, alumni, and their supporters who want the institution to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The say that the campaign is one of the largest in the school’s history citing a petition signed by a two-thirds majority of the 1,500 member student body, supported by approximately 100 faculty and 1,000 alumni.
Over the course of four years, the students have held dozens of meetings with university administrators but in 2013 the university announced that it would decline to divest from fossil fuels claiming that the institution would lose scholarship money, $10 million of which is generated from a $1.6 billion endowment. But students point to the recent drop in oil prices as just one argument that proves the threat to their endowment. They say that the planet is reaching an end to a carbon economy and say that they demand a fossil-free investment strategy.
Students at the University of Colorado at all four campuses have also promised to escalate their demand for divestment during the Spring semester.
Here Swarthmore freshman student Sophia Zaia speaks to KGNU from the occupation:
all photos courtesy to KGNU: Anjali Cadambi