Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Divest Coal holds silent sit-in at U. Hall

The group also read a letter addressed to administrators calling for Corporation transparency

Members of Brown Divest Coal and other students gathered Thursday in University Hall to read a letter to President Christina Paxson and Corporation members and to stage a silent sit-in.

Students convened on the Main Green at noon to organize before entering University Hall. About 60 students participated in the letter-reading and nearly 20 remained for the sit-in, which lasted two hours.

“Our consideration of divestiture is not over,” said Cameron Johnson ’17 on the steps outside of the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center before the group’s sit-in. Though Paxson and administration members “consider the conversation over,” he told the crowd, the students gathering “have come to tell them that our voices will not be silenced.”

Students entered University Hall around 12:25 p.m., and David Katzevich ’16 read a letter composed by Brown Divest Coal members, while other students listened in silence.

“We will continue to champion our arguments for divestment, but today we protest in silence because we feel the administration has silenced the conversation,” he said, reading the letter.

The letter requested greater transparency from the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body.

The letter presented by Brown Divest Coal asked the Corporation to include at minimum one student, faculty and staff member in its body, make its meeting minutes public, deem the University’s Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies a voting body and require Corporation members with conflicts-of-interest to recuse themselves from voting.

ACCRIP recommended in April that the University divest its endowment from 15 of the largest coal companies.

The letter also called for the allowance of community members to propose items for the Corporation’s meeting agenda and the creation of a committee that would vet potential new Corporation members.

After the letter was read, 20 students remained in University Hall and sat holding hands in a circle, with a sign reading “Accountability, Transparency, Community” in the middle of their circle. They remained in silence for two hours.

Three Department of Public Safety Officers arrived at the scene at approximately 12:35 p.m. The officers left 15 minutes later because they told Brown Divest Coal member Rachel Bishop ’13 that they did not “want to give us more publicity,” she said.

Kimberly Roskiewicz, assistant to the President, declined to comment on the actions of the students or the letter and told the Herald that Paxson was unavailable for comment.

Various Brown Divest Coal members also said the divestment movement is now linked with a campus-wide demand that administrators and Corporation members listen to student voices.

“It is bigger than Brown Divest Coal,” Bishop said. “The Corporation does not have adequate representation of the Brown community voice.”


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Brown Daily Herald, Inc.