Beginning at 8:50 a.m. Thursday morning, 48 members of Fossil Free Yale — the student group advocating for divestment from fossil fuels — entered Woodbridge Hall and staged a sit-in.
According to FFY Communications Director Chelsea Watson ’17, FFY entered Yale’s central administrative hall to demand that the administration and Yale Corporation publicly reconsider the question of divestment. She said that working through official administrative channels, such as meeting with the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, has been “completely ineffective” and it was necessary to confront the administration directly.
“We felt the need to demonstrate that we take this issue seriously, we take our future seriously,” FFY Project Manager Mitch Barrows ’16 said. “If we are willing to take this risk and show that we mean business, maybe the corporation and President Salovey will see that and take this issue more serious.
He described this sit-in as part of the progression of escalation in tactics to pressure the administration to reopen the question of divestment. He added that when the members of FFY first entered Woodbridge, the staff on hand was “a little shell-shocked” but the group has largely been received with respect.
Almost immediately after FFY had entered Woodbridge Hall, President Peter Salovey publicly addressed the group of students gathered outside his office.
Pilar Montalvo, the director of administrative affairs for the President’s Office, said Salovey in his message suggested that FFY stay in touch with the ACIR and work through law school professor Jonathan Macey, the chair of the committee. She added that when FFY asked to have direct contact with the Corporation’s Committee on Investor Responsibility, Salovey replied that he would “certainly pass along that message.”
“The have been very respectful,” Montalvo said. “When the building closes at 5 p.m., everyone leaves and that’s pretty much it.”
However, Watson said the group’s plan is to stay in the building until FFY has felt it has been heard.