University News

Undergrad arrested at Keystone pipeline protest

After staging a fake funeral in protest of the pipeline, 25 out of 75 protesters were arrested

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rachel Bishop ’13 was arrested on charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct at the TransCanada Corporation’s Northeast Regional Office while protesting the Keystone XL pipeline yesterday in Westborough, Mass.

Three other Brown undergraduates ­— Emily Kirkland ’13, Rebecca Rast ’13.5 and Daniel Sherrell ’13.5 — participated in the protest but were not arrested.

Bishop has since been released.

More than 75 students, members of the clergy and other community members participated in the protest, but only 25 protesters were arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct, according to a MetroWest Daily News article. The protest was primarily organized by students in Boston who are encouraging their respective universities to divest from fossil fuels, Kirkland said.

The protesters staged a mock
funeral, entering the TransCanada office singing, chanting and carrying a fake coffin, Kirkland said.

“We had a funeral for our futures to acknowledge the fact that in a world where the tar sands
have been developed, our generation and future generations have no guarantee that we’ll have a future that is livable, stable or sustainable,” Kirkland said.

“It was a very powerful action,” Kirkland said. “It demonstrated to the employees how serious we are as a movement.”

The police arrived and asked the protestors to leave, Kirkland said. Some left, but others stayed in the building, she added.

“Over the course of an hour and a half, the protestors who hadn’t left were arrested and led out of the building into police custody,” Kirkland said.

Kirkland, Rast and Sherrell all left upon police request, but Bishop stayed inside.

“It was a decision that all of us had made beforehand,” Kirkland said. “She had decided that she was going to show the strength of her feelings on this issue.”

“I think the police definitely handled it correctly,” Kirkland said. “They were very respectful.”

Bishop, Kirkland, Rast and Sherrell all belong to Brown Divest Coal but made the decision to attend the protest as individuals.

Brown Divest Coal did not endorse their actions, though the group tweeted that Bishop’s “bravery is amazing.”

“I am in the position that as a student I have the time, privilege and opportunity, that taking action is something I can do,” Bishop said. “The urgency of the situation demands that if I have the opportunity to take action, I should do so.”

Bishop also said she felt the police were respectful and gracious in dealing with her and her fellow protestors.

“I don’t think it’s going to stop here,” Kirkland said. “There’s a huge amount of resistance to TransCanada, and I definitely don’t think that’s over.”

  • Tom Bale ’63

    You are right, Emily Kirkland, it is not going to stop there. The power you, Bishop, Rast, and Sherrell are demonstrating in your determination to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and force this sad nation to focus on climate change is building throughout the US, Canada, and many parts of the world. If Obama agrees to the pipeline there will be massive peaceful civil disobedience demonstrations taking place. How about the rest of the students in Brown Divest Coal? Why aren’t they flooding the BDH with statements of support for the courage you four displayed?