divestment

Fossil Free Penn submitted a recommendation to the University Council in November 2015 to have the University divest from fossil fuel companies. 

Credit: Carson Kahoe

On Thursday morning at 9 a.m., a peaceful assembly of 20 Fossil Free Penn members plan to greet Penn President Amy Gutmann in her office, and will refuse to leave until the administration agrees to their terms. 

According to a Fossil Free Penn press release, the group is demanding a meeting with Gutmann, increased transparency concerning the fossil-fuel divestment process, and the release of a shareholder voting plan that Penn trustees recently created instead of divesting.

“The entire process [on deciding whether or not to divest] was not only biased and unjust but it was also extremely opaque and there was zero transparency,” College sophomore and FFP member Zach Rissman said. “In a time when students won’t just sit around taking whatever the administration gives them, this is really not okay.”

The protest follows the decision of Penn Trustees to reject fossil fuel divestment in September and Gutmann’s repeated refusals to meet with the group.

The group chose to hold the protest on Nov. 10 in order to honor the 21st anniversary of the execution of nine activists in Nigeria. 

The United Minorities Council will also hold a rally and teach-in on College Green Thursday afternoon, focusing on fossil fuel divestment and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The issue of fossil fuel divestment by the University was put to referendum in early 2015. The measure was passed with 87.8 percent of undergraduates voting in favor of divesting.

The surprising results of Tuesday's presidential election have given the group a new reason to protest. 

“I think as of last night, this is more important than ever, as we can no longer rely on our government to pass legislation to protect the climate. Trump is an avid climate [change] denier,” Rissman said. “We can’t just fall back on the government to pick up the slack for what we don’t do, because we are the only people who are going to do this now.”

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.