Cal Students Host Overnight Sit-In Demanding Chancellor Endorse Divestment

For Immediate Release

Cal Students Host Overnight Sit-In Demanding Chancellor Endorse Divestment

Berkeley - Amidst national student escalation, students and community members host sleepover and breakfast rally outside administrative building, demanding their Chancellor take a position on fossil fuel divestment.

When: 7 p.m. April 8th - 10am April 9th, 2015; Breakfast & rally planned for 9am

Where: California Hall, UC Berkeley

Dozens of students, alumni, professors and community members are expected to join a protest outside the Chancellor’s office, camping out overnight as they urge him to publically support fossil fuel divestment. This action comes nearly three weeks after members of campus group Fossil Free Cal met privately with Chancellor Dirks. It also comes at a time when student groups across the nation are pursuing a series of escalated tactics demanding that their administrators pick a side in the struggle against climate chaos. Recently, students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania began a prolonged sitin earning the high-profile endorsement of UN climate chief and Swarthmore graduate Christiana Figueres and leading to divestment being put on their Board of Trustees agenda.

Throughout the evening students will hold trainings, workshops, and art builds. The following morning, a 9am breakfast and rally is planned as students await the arrival of Chancellor Dirks. Writer Rebecca Solnit, ASUC student senator Haley Broder, and other community activists will also be in attendance.

Undergraduate student governments at 9 UC campuses have passed resolutions calling for fossil fuel divestment, as have the Cal Faculty Association, Santa Barbara Faculty Senate, and the UC Berkeley Graduate Student Assembly. UC Berkeley’s student government has already divested its own $3 million budget.

The fossil fuel divestment campaign has spread to over 500 colleges, cities, states, and religious institutions across the United States and around the world. The effort is modeled on the anti-apartheid and tobacco divestment campaigns of the 1980s and 1990s.

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With ten campuses and approximately 200,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the UC system is known as the premier public university system in the world. The UC Regents control policy for the institution’s investment portfolio of nearly $81 billion. In the tradition of successful divestment campaigns against the South African apartheid, Sudan, and tobacco, we are targeting the UC Regents and asking for divestment. Specifically, Fossil Free UC is asking the university to adopt a five-year plan to freeze new fossil fuel investments, implement a negative screen for the top 194 companies and roll out investment alternatives that address climate-risk and sustainability.

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