15 UMass Students Get Arrested During Oil Divestment Sit-In

(REUTERS/Yves Herman

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Several anti-fossil fuel activists were arrested Tuesday during demonstrations seeking to pressure the University of Massachusetts Amherst into selling off its oil assets, a media spokeswoman with university police confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The arrest of 15 environmentalist students happened on the second day of demonstrations.

The UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign has waged a five-year mission to end the school’s use of oil and coal assets. Not satisfied with the school’s slow pace on divestment, members of the group decided to take their demonstration further Monday by occupying the financial building Whitmore Administration building.

More than 50 students gathered outside the building in support for those who were arrested.

They are demanding the university divest from 200 top fossil fuel companies in order to fight climate change and what they call “destructive and exploitative” oil companies.

“Time’s up. It’s time to lead with us and stand on the right side of history,” Filipe Carvalho, a UMass student and protester told reporters.

He promised an “escalation” in demonstrations until the University of Massachusetts Foundation completely winds down its $700 million in fossil fuel investments. The fund ended its coal assets in December.

“We’re going to have more people, we’re going to have more support, we’re going to have more press to build on the momentum that we have here,” said Carvalho.

UMass President Martin Meehan held a Tuesday conference call between the school’s Board of Trustees Chairman Victor Woolridge and a handful of the protesters. The call did not go as well as protesters hoped. The administrators refused to divest its oil holdings by 2021.

The group believes so-called man-made global warming disproportionately hurts poor people and black communities. They shouted slogans such as “climate change is class war” and “racial justice cannot wait” Tuesday night following the conference call.

Mica Reel, an UMass student representing the protestors, told reporters Monday that the school will listen to reason because they have no other choice.

“There are people on the board who support us,” Reel, who represents the group and majors in globalization and sexual inequality, told reporters Monday. “They’ll have no choice but to be accountable to what the people they represent want.”

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