Northwestern climate protesters shut down roadway after being told no

Climate activists at Northwestern University shut down a major intersection after not getting their way with the school’s investments.

The activists had recently demanded that the school divest completely from fossil fuels. The board refused.

Climate activists at Northwestern University shut down a major roadway Friday after finding out that the school would not be going through with a fossil fuel divestment plan proposed by the activists last in February. 

After the Northwestern University board of trustees rejected a proposal to completely divest from the top 100 oil and gas companies, more than 60 protesters reportedly gathered to block a major campus intersection.

[RELATED: Harvard faculty vote to divest from fossil fuels]


Protesters from the group “Fossil Free Northwestern” chanting “Disclose, divest or this will be our death” consisted of both students and faculty, according to student newspaper The Daily Northwestern.

One student protester told The Daily that the group of protesters “wanted to show the Board that they cannot hide from the Northwestern community,” adding “as much as they may try to maintain bureaucratic distance between the general population and themselves, we will continue to hold them publicly accountable.”

The board rejected the divestment plan last month, stating that it “does not believe the proposed divestment would generate tangible and positive change toward FFN’s [Fossil Free Northwestern’s] goals related to climate change.”

[RELATED: UC system announces divestment from fossil fuels]

“The recommended sale of Northwestern’s holdings in these firms would not have any impact on the ability of the targeted companies to conduct their businesses.”

Fossil Free Northwestern held both a die-in and a teach-in on Feb. 13, a day that has become known as Global Divestment Day, calling on the board to divest around $50 million from the fossil fuel industry.

“Already, thousands of lives have been lost to extreme weather events linked to climate change. Many island nations refer to the Climate Crisis as Climate Genocide, as they combat the horrific outcomes of our complacency, storms which threaten their homes, their culture, and their lives,” Fossil Free Northwestern wrote in a statement about their reason for protesting. “Climate change will continue to disproportionately affect those least responsible, including women, people of color, and the poor.”

“Extraction of fossil fuels during this climate emergency is a moral obscenity, and our University is complicit in these obscenities through its investment,” wrote the group.

[RELATED: Harvard Law students won’t work for firm over Exxon ties]

Regarding a recent anti-fossil fuel protest at Harvard University, founder and president of the Center for Industrial Progress Alex Epstein told Campus Reform recently that campus climate protesters “want to enjoy all the incredible benefits of low-cost reliable energy from fossil fuels and also enjoy the phony status that comes from condemning fossil fuels.”

“If these students truly believe that fossil fuels are ‘evil’ they can make themselves aware of all the ways in which they use fossil fuels and cease those activities or try to do them using the wildly inferior alternatives to fossil fuels,” said Epstein. 

“Instead, they are calling for measures that will make energy more expensive for billions of people who are not nearly as fortunate as they are,” Epstein added. “They are also supporting complete travesties of justice that deny free speech rights to companies like ExxonMobil whose product we ask for and willingly buy.”

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