Chancellor Wrighton Says “No” to Demands of Wash U Students Against Peabody

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 12, 2014
Contact: Madeleine Balchan, mbalchan2@gmail.com, 937-360-6246
Chancellor Wrighton Says “No” to Demands of Wash U Students Against Peabody
Students Immediately Escalate Fight by Organizing ‘Alumni Against Peabody’
Five student representatives from Students Against Peabody met with Chancellor Wrighton this morning to begin negotiations on the students’ demands. The students are demanding: 1. Remove CEO Greg Boyce and Peabody from the Board of Trustees, and 2. The Chancellor must attend community-organized tours of Peabody extraction zones and issue a public statement about his experience.
The student representatives, Julia Ho, Jamal Sadrud-Din , Georgia McCandlish, Emily Alves, and Megan Odenthal, met with the Chancellor for about half an hour before walking out of the meeting. When asked if he has the power to take a stand on the University’s relationship with Peabody, Chancellor Wrighton said, “I could, but I won’t.”
“This meeting has shown us that the Chancellor has decided to side with Peabody Coal instead of the students of Washington University,“ said Julia Ho, a member of the negotiating team. “We know where he stands, and we know what we have to do to change his mind.”
Immediately after the negotiating team walked out of the meeting, Students Against Peabody began heightened pressure on Chancellor Wrighton. Mobilizing quickly, a group of 40 supporters walked to the Chancellor’s office in Brookings and delivered a letter from students and community members urging the Chancellor to honor student demands.
Local community supporters today included PJ Wilson, Director of Renew Missouri. Wilson said, “Standing with these students makes me proud to be a Missourian. Renew Missouri has been pro-renewable energy and anti-nothing. Until today. We have to stand up to fossil fuel companies.”
In addition, Students Against Peabody then commenced organizing alumni, many of whom are on campus this weekend for Alumni Weekend. Alumni are being urged to calling the Alumni Annual Fund office and state that they refuse to donate to Washington University until the demands of Students Against Peabody are met.
Students Against Peabody is in the fifth day of a sustained sit-in outside of Brookings Hall, the main administration building on Washington University’s campus. The students cite numerous reasons why the University should ends its relationship with Peabody, including Peabody’s contribution to global carbon emissions, participation in ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), marginalization of indigenous and rural communities in places including Black Mesa, Arizona and Rocky Branch, Illinois, and interference in democratic processes through their lawsuit against the local Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative.
Photos are attached.
Students are available to comment throughout the day.
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