Columbia Divest for Climate Justice

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Columbia Divest for Climate Justice (CDCJ), formerly Barnard Columbia Divest, is a student activist group founded in fall 2012 that wants Columbia to divest from fossil fuels in their investments. They were active in the 2014 People's Climate March, protested Giving Day[1], and were granted a meeting with PrezBo after protesting his Fun Run.[2] Other activities included disruption a BP event sponsored by the Center on Global Energy.[3]

After the Barnard and Columbia administrations responses diverged in 2014/2015, Barnard-Columbia Divest split into two groups to focus on each school individually. Columbia's ASCRI committee rejected the Barnard Columbia Divest proposal in May 2014.[4] [5] However, in a meeting with BCD November 2014, President Bollinger committed to making a decision on divestment by the end of the academic year (unclear if he met this promise).[6]

CDCJ submitted another proposal in October 2015 that Columbia divest from all stocks or bonds in firms listed in the Carbon Underground 200; this was rejected by the committee in November 2015.[7] On April 20, 2016 (in the middle of the CDCJ Low sit-in), ASCRI recommended the University become an Investor Signatory to the CDP Climate Change program, and later recommends divestment from coal used primarily for electricity production ("thermal coal") in February 2017.[8] [9] The University trustees vote in favor of both in March 2017. The committee's 2016 tar sands divestment proposal did not go anywhere.

Low Sit-In

CDCJ began the 2015-2016 academic year with its cofounders set to graduate and no meaningful progress towards divestment. Thus, the group formed the Barnard Columbia Solidarity Network alongside other activist groups. The BCSN collected signatures for a pledge to commit civil disobedience and risk sanction from the university in the name of fossil fuel divestment[10], in preparation for an occupation of Low that was postponed to the spring.

This preparation culminated in an eight-day sit-in between April 14 and 22, 2016, the longest such occupation since the 17-day sit-in of Lewisohn Hall in 1972. Members of CDCJ occupied the Low Rotunda, refusing to leave until President Bollinger issued a statement in support of divestment. The sit-in ended when Bollinger left campus for a week to attend Bill Campbell's funeral, with the promise of a mass pro-divestment email by the end of the semester. Though the sit-in started with 14 students, only six remained in Low at the end of the protest. A number of Spectator news reporters also participated in the sit-in to document goings-on[11]. [12].

For the duration of the protest, members participating in the sit-in were brought food from outside by Public Safety. Low Rotunda, the site of several events, was shut down, ostensibly because the sit-in interfered with them. Rules Administrator Suzanne Goldberg charged protestors with violations for each event that was cancelled, recommending suspension[13].

A number of student groups issued statements in support of the protest. CCSC passed a resolution calling for the protestors not to be suspended or expelled.

See also

Columbia Prison Divest

Extinction Rebellion