For the second time this week, students gathered before Woodbridge Hall to demand the University divest its assets from fossil fuel companies.
In a single line, twenty members representing both Fossil Free Yale, the leading student group advocating divestment on campus, and unaffiliated students stood and faced the University’s main administrative building. Demonstrators held signs that read “Don’t Silence Me,” “Divest” and “83%” — referring to the Yale College Council referendum in Nov. 2013 that showed that 83 percent of referendum voters, representing 43 percent of the total undergraduate population, favored divestment.
“The purpose of the protest is to show the Yale Corporation that we will continue to push for our proposal,” Fossil Free Yale member Gabe Levine ’14 said. “Now is the time to articulate our proposal.”
Several of the protesters wore business suits to demonstrate their professionalism and commitment to internal processes, Fossil Free Yale member Gabe Rissman ’16 said.
Levine added that the demonstration shows the Yale Corporation that students are taking the issue of divestment very seriously.
According to a press release issued Thursday evening by Fossil Free Yale, the Yale Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility (CCIR) will meet privately with the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility (ACIR) — a committee of eight professors, students and alumni that evaluates ethical issues surrounding the University’s investments — to continue discussions on the possibility of divestment.
“Fossil Free Yale’s action signals both their support for the continued conversation and their hope that the meeting will yield results which respond to the urgent nature of the climate crisis,” the press release said.
Fossil Free Yale proposed the initial YCC referendum and has presented to the ACIR on several different occasions. Based on work from Fossil Free Yale, the ACIR first met with the CCIR in February.
The CCIR has the final authority to direct the Yale Investments Office on the issue of divestment and is expected to make a decision in the coming months.
Friday afternoon’s protest follows Tuesday’s protest at the same location. While Fossil Free Yale was not involved with the first demonstration, the group did organize today’s demonstration. Members of the group were divided on whether today’s protest was a direct response to Tuesday’s actions.
Still, Grace Steig ’16, who organized Tuesday’s protest, was one of the 20 members standing outside Woodbridge Hall on Friday.
“I think it’s important to support the [divestment] movement in any form,” she said.
At one point during the protest, all 20 members engaged in a chant, repeating “83 percent.”