Divest UMass: 15 Student Arrests and Continued Demonstration

For Immediate Release

Divest UMass: 15 Student Arrests and Continued Demonstration

AMHERST, MA - Yesterday, after 5 hours of negotiations with administration, the demands of the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign were not met. At 8:00 pm, 15 students were arrested. This comes as students completed the second day of an escalatory sit-in to demand that UMass President Martin Meehan and Board of Trustees Chairman Victor Woolridge publicly commit to full fossil fuel divestment.

The sit-in, which began with 20 students early Monday morning, grew to over 125 students, faculty, alumni, and community members by Tuesday evening, putting immense pressure on the UMass Administration. Late Monday night, the UMASS Amherst Student Government Association supported the action by formally endorsing the sit-in, 28-1.

“Four years after first launching our demand, over 120 members of the UMass community are sitting in to call on our university to divest fully from the top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel companies. The first 15 students were just arrested. They’ve proposed dialogue but what we want is action.” Says Sophomore Mica Reel.

This action at UMass Amherst is part of a national wave of coordinated actions  across fossil fuel divestment campaigns on campuses across the country. Just last week, students at Swarthmore took action and highlighted the conflicts of interest on their Board of Trustees and many more are set to come. Today, four students with Divest Harvard took nonviolent direct action and were arrested, and Yale University divested $10 million from the fossil fuel industry.

“Students are taking action across the country. We’re calling on Chairman Woolridge and President Meehan to lead with us and stand on the right side of history by being the first public institution to commit fully to fossil fuel divestment,” says Senior Filipe de Carvalho.  

Students at UMass Amherst are planning to continue calling on Woolridge and Meehan to stand on the right side of history until the President and Chairman publicly commit to full fossil fuel divestment.

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

When: Wednesday, April 13th, 8:30 a.m.

Where: Whitmore Administration Building
                UMass Amherst, Amherst MA 01003

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We are a UMass Amherst student power organization fighting for climate justice by demanding our institution divest from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies and reinvest in projects and funds into communities on the frontlines of climate crisis. We organize to bring the urgency of the crisis, created by economic inequality and climate change, to those who are responsible and challenge our University to take the bold action necessary to ensure a just future for its students, the Commonwealth and the world.

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