U of Vermont students play dead in front of school president’s office to demand oil divestment

A number of students at the University of Vermont dropped to the floor and played dead in front of the school president’s office earlier this month to encourage the school to divest from fossil fuel funds.

UVM students “played dead” in front of the school president’s office to highlight their support for the school divesting from funds involved in the fossil fuel industry. Photo Credit: The Vermont Cynic.

The so-called “die in” was organized by the Vermont Student Climate Culture and was meant to symbolize, according to a press release from the group, the “400,000 deaths” that are alleged to have been caused so far by climate change.

“To mourn and symbolize this terrible toll, the students staggered their ‘deaths’ over several minutes until all had fallen,” the press report stated.

A spokesman for the group was contacted and originally agreed to an interview, but backed out saying the group had “finished press outreach for the die-In event and are not doing any more interviews.”

Different members of the group also demanded that the universities administrators comply with their demands.

“As President of the University, we expect [Sullivan’s] values to be in line with the values of this community,” said first-year organizer Annalena Barrett. “And as the widespread support shows, the community values climate justice for all populations and all generations.”

The school is already considering divesting from funds which are involved in fossil fuel energy companies in part due to resolutions separately passed by the Student Government Association and the Faculty Senate earlier in the year.

Student Climate Culture began its campaign for divestment last September. Besides the resolutions passed by SGA and the Faculty Senate, the group has also collected 2,000 signatures from both students and faculty members for petitions supporting divestment.

The “die in” coincided with two representatives of the protesting group meeting with UVM’s president, Tom Sullivan, to discuss divestment.

According to the group’s website, the school’s president refused to issue a firm answer on whether the school would divest from fossil fuel funds.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ScottMGreer

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