Students lined the halls of Crow Hall, home of the physics department at Washington University, in a sit-in to spread awareness of the lack of gender diversity among physics faculty.
At 10 p.m. Thursday night, the Students Against Peabody group officially ended its sit-in. But students involved say their stand against Peabody Energy will continue at the board of trustees meeting on May 1.
Even though the protests against Peabody Energy ended last week without achieving any of the protesters’ initially expressed goals, I think the sit-in was one of the best things to have happened to the school during my four years here at Washington University.
At 10 p.m. Thursday night, the Students Against Peabody group officially ended its sit-in. But students say their stand against Peabody Energy will continue at the board of trustees meeting on May 1. After 16 days of holding their ground underneath the Brookings Archway, the students have decided to move on to other tactics to urge Washington University to cut ties with Peabody Energy.
With the sit-in against Peabody Energy now in its third week, Washington University officials have made their first counteroffer to the student organizers’ demands. Organizers, however, have deemed the offer, which directly addresses only one of their stated demands, insufficient, and they plan to continue their sit-in under Brookings Archway, which began April 8.
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Apparently the students at Washington University involved in the protests against Peabody Coal feel that the best way to air their grievances is to shut down any voice with which they disagree by walking out of meetings, demonizating their opponents or having them kicked off boards and the University campus.
Students are continuing their sit-in under the Brookings Archway after Chancellor Mark Wrighton rejected their core demand to remove Greg Boyce, CEO of Peabody Energy, from Washington University’s board of trustees Saturday.
As alumni, we write to express our support for the student movement demanding that Washington University break ties with Peabody Energy. Despite a dirty reputation of social injustice and scientific misrepresentation, our alma mater continues to propagate the myth of clean coal and Peabody’s CEO Greg Boyce continues to sit on the University’s board of trustees.
As the movement to divest from fossil fuels and cut ties with Peabody Energy gains popularity, the University and the board of trustees must acknowledge not only the social importance of moving away from fossil fuel, but also the tremendous potential this movement has to improve the appearance, influence and popularity of the University.