NEW YORK — Nine students representing Columbia Divest for Climate Justice (CDCJ) have begun the third day of an occupation of Columbia University’s Low Library. Our demand is clear: we will not leave until President Bollinger makes a public statement recommending divestment from the top 200 fossil fuel companies to Columbia’s Board of Trustees.
The occupation began on April 14, when over 60 students began a sit-in outside of President Bollinger’s office in Low Library–a symbol of administrative power on Columbia’s campus. Sixteen students spend the night, but the University has since blocked off entrance to the building. On Friday during the day, Low was put on lockdown, and the administration moved a number of events schedule in the building elsewhere. The nine students who remain today have been threatened with suspension or expulsion, but refuse to move until President Bollinger–who remains nowhere to be found–supports divestment.
“CDCJ has been working on this campaign for over three years, and the administration refuses to act. This occupation, following the tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience, is our way of emphasizing student power and the need to divest–now,” said Mike Glendinning, a Columbia College junior and CDCJ organizer.
In solidarity with the students occupying Low, other organizers from CDCJ and the Barnard Columbia Solidarity Network (BCSN) have organized a host of solidarity rallies and events outside building, including a march to President Bollinger’s house on Friday. Additionally, various student groups on campus have sent donations of food, money, and statements of support to the nine. Statements of support so far including Student-Worker Solidarity, No Red Tape, Columbia Queer Alliance, Divest Barnard, the Student Governing Board, and CU Democrats.
“The showing of solidarity has been incredible,” said Lucas Zeppetello, a CDCJ organizer and senior at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “It keeps us going, because at the end of the day we aren’t leaving until our demands are met.”
You can see live-blogging updates of the sit-in via Columbia Spectator; CDCJ is grateful to the two reporters in the building with them. Follow direct updates, including a letter from inside, on CDCJ’s Facebook.