Amanda He / Sun Staff Photographer

Students protest on Ho Plaza in September.

December 2, 2019

Student Strikers To Demand Divestment Friday

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For the second time this semester, student groups will hold a strike for climate justice. Students will march at 11:30 a.m. this Friday on Ho Plaza in a display of frustration at what they see as the insufficient actions of leaders in the face of climate change.

As with the climate strike in September, students want to communicate the urgency of climate change, and are pushing for bolder actions on the part of leadership both at the University and around the world. But unlike the previous strike, this time the organizers have concrete demands for the University.

According to the event’s Facebook page, the first of the four demands asks that the University “tell the truth” by acknowledging their role in climate change and divest from fossil fuels.

Other demands include the decarbonization of the University’s energy sources, making veganism more accessible on campus and the creation of a “citizens assembly” who would participate in University-level decision-making, and comprised of faculty, non-academic staff and local community members.

A more detailed list will be presented at the march, according to Lucy Contreras ’21, one of the organizers of the march. She also found speakers for this event, though would not say who the speakers would be.

Climate activism on college campuses made headlines last week when protesters at the Harvard-Yale football game stormed the field to demand divestment from fossil fuels, according to The New York Times.

Organizers also aimed to make this upcoming strike more inclusive of other student groups, which was not as much of a priority at the last strike.

According to Nadia Vitek ’22, a member of Climate Justice Cornell and one of the organizers of both strikes, the strike in September was primarily organized by CJC and Cornell Environmental Collaborative.

This time, the two groups received help from Cornell Vegan Society, Cornell Students for Animal Rights, Extinction Rebellion, Anabel’s Grocery, Cornell Young Democratic Socialists and Cornell Students for Bernie Sanders, said Vitek.

This strike also has a wider scope than the September even, according to Contreras.

“We are bringing animal agriculture to the forefront of the climate discussion,” said Contreras, whose involvement in issues of climate change has largely centered around vegan activism. “It is time to acknowledge the role that our food system has had in both creating and exacerbating climate change.”

This climate strike is part of a nationally coordinated strike, organized online on the  StrikeWithUs platform. Student groups decided to participate in this strike around a week after the September strike, according to Vitek.

“This is not only a national but also an international movement,” Vitek said. “It’s super important that Cornell follows suit.”