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Penn anti-fossil fuel group upset at administration’s ‘disrespect,’ indifference to its ‘sacrifices’

Members of the University of Pennsylvania fossil fuel divestment group Fossil Free Penn apparently were “written up” by campus officials after they refused to vacate a school building at closing time.

FFP’s Abby McGuckin confirmed with The Daily Pennsylvania that 13 students were “cited for university infractions.”

Sit-in “co-coordinator” Zach Rissman said 8 or 9 students had stayed overnight at College Hall last evening, while 14 slept there the night before.

FFP member Gavi Reiter was miffed that the university — which voted down a fossil fuel divestment measure last year — doesn’t seem to appreciate her group is doing:

“Our goal in staying overnight is to put pressure on the administration and the Board of Trustees to see that we are here and we’re giving our time and our sweat and our energy and our mental capacity to put into everything we’re bringing to the table.

“The fact that they’re not even considering the sacrifices that we’re making […] and not bringing these discussions to the table and not putting us on equal footing is disrespectful to the students.”

From the story:

On top of its two fundamental goals —  first, the immediate divestment from the University’s endowment from all companies that are involved in the extraction of coal and tar sands; and second, to commence a plan for full divestment for all fossil fuel companies for the next six months — FFP wanted to engage in discussion with the administration on their decision not to divest.

Rissman said that Fossil Free told the administration Monday morning that, had the administration not responded to the group’s demands by 3 p.m. that day, the group would stage a sit-in overnight.

The administration then did respond to the group by saying that the group’s demands were already addressed when the Ad Hoc Committee held a vote last year to divest, which ultimately did not pass. This acknowledgement, however, was sufficient for FFP to withhold from their initial plan to stay overnight on Monday, and they returned home once the building closed.

FFP returned Tuesday morning, still hoping to get their demands met. Associate Vice-Provost for Student Affairs Hikaru Kozuma met with FFP students on Tuesday and according to Rissman, Kozuma told FFP that the demands could not be met. Rissman said that, because it took the administration an entire day to speak with FFP to review their requests, FFP responded with four new demands.

On Wednesday, Kozuma again said “no” to the group, which prompted the stays overnight.

Ms. Reiter continued with the delusion that throwing tantrums by “upping the ante” when you don’t get your way will actually get you somewhere, not to mention the fantasy that she and her FFP peers are on “equal footing” with those who run things at Penn:

“We have offered up four options, or opportunities, for them to come to the table and have a full discussion and they have rejected each of these opportunities to full consideration to talk,” she said. “So we are sitting in again and we stayed past closing hours.”

Read the full article.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.