Students silently protest at board of trustees meeting; support divestment

Staff Report

ALEK FEURY/The Vermont Cynic
Sophomore Drew Baker and first-year Bella Federico protests alongside other students at the board of trustees meeting Oct. 20.

Student activists called upon the board of trustees to divest from fossil fuels in a silent protest at the board meeting Oct. 20.

While the budget, finance and investment committee met, Student Climate Culture and Young Progressives entered Silver Maple Ballroom with signs demanding fossil fuel divestment.

The students stood, without talking, while the board went through the agenda and raised their signs when they spoke about the University endowment.

The protest came after SGA passed a resolution last week backed by a number of student environmental advocacy groups.

“Divestment is not something [the board] can continue to sweep under the rug,” said junior Jack Doane, president of Student Climate Culture.

The resolution, which the SGA passed Oct. 18, demanded that UVM divest from the top 200 companies who contribute the most to carbon emissions as indexed by the Carbon Tracker Initiative.

“We want to talk about divestment as a cooperative thing,” said senior Emily Daroga. “Because the divestment movement at UVM has been at a standstill for a couple of years, we’re here to show that students care.”

This resolution was sponsored by Will Corcoran, the chair of the committee on the environment.

Young Progressives member junior Drew Baker said the students were “lining Silver Maple Ballroom to employ their voices as students and to generate a conversation.”

The group wanted to ensure UVM is upholding its commitment to sustainability, Baker said.

The committee told the rest of the board of trustees about the divestment protest during the Oct. 21 committee of the whole meeting.