Around 60 people participated in a walkout and gathered in Quarry Plaza on Jan. 23, protesting the billions of dollars of UC investments in fossil fuels.
Since 2012, Fossil Free UC (FFUC) campaigned for the UC to divest its holdings in companies like Mitsubishi and ExxonMobil, which rely on fossil fuels including oil, gas, coal and tar sands. The UC divested from coal and tar sands in 2015. The group has condemned Donald Trump and other politicians for climate change denial.
“The political climate of the past few days is something our campaign has not worked with before,” said FFUC Santa Cruz organizer Sam Weinstein. “People had been mobilizing this past weekend and were already in the mindset of making a statement through disruptive action.”
From Quarry Plaza, 30 students marched to the base of campus, where they covered the school’s wooden entrance sign with a cloth sign that read “University of California Divest from Fossil Fuels” and participated in a teach-in about how the UC Regents fit into the larger fossil free movement.
In particular, they are asking UC Regent Richard Sherman, the chair of UC Subcommittee on Investments, to divest through its #ResistRejectDenial campaign. FFUC is working to recruit more students to join these actions in the future.
“Students working on divestment campaigns no longer have the strategic backing of the national government,” Weinstein said. “This puts more pressure on our institutions to make bold, lasting statements about the preservation of natural resources, and investment in renewables, such as fossil fuel divestment.”