By JR on Tuesday, March 08, 2016
MIT fossil fuel protesters settle in for long haul
This is just a self-righteousness display entered into to get praise from their equally ignorant peers. It's a sort of party. There is of course no way that getting their demands met would affect climate. What it would affect is the funding of their college. The price of coal sttocks on the stockmarket is way down so MIT would get only pennies if they sold up. If they hang on to their stocks, however, they will at least get some dividends. And energy companies could well be miffed enough to cease coming to MIT with research grants for projects that interest them. So MIT is resisting a sell-off for good budgetary reasons. But the Green/Left like to impoverish anyone they can so it all fits. Students who attack their own college should have their enrollment cancelled
They have become a familiar sight lining the wide hallway outside the stately second-floor offices of MIT president L. Rafael Reif.
For the past 116 days, students, professors, and alumni who are pressing the college to shed fossil fuels from its investment holdings have been calmly occupying this slick, hard stretch of the Infinite Corridor.
By all accounts, it is a very MIT protest. Students coordinate shifts with a shared spreadsheet; they bring textbooks and doctoral theses; and a computer program reminds them to stand and stretch every 30 minutes.
Oh, and they don’t plan to give up.
For 116 days, students, professors, and alumni have been holding a sit-in to press MIT to shed fossil fuels from its investment holdings.
“When we do something at MIT, we do it thoroughly,” said Nina Lytton, a 1984 graduate of the MIT Sloan School of Management who comes every day and passes the time knitting. She has finished 62 furry Hawaiian leis so far.
Organizers believe this is the longest-running divestment sit-in for a college, breaking Swarthmore College students’ 32-day record several months ago. That Pennsylvania protest was one of the many divestment campaigns that erupted across the world last year, including at Harvard University.
The group organizing the protest at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Fossil Free MIT, has asked that the school divest its endowment from coal and tar sands and make the campus carbon neutral by 2040. It is also pressing for the institute to create an ethics advisory council to combat “disinformation” about climate change.
The school in October released its five-year plan to confront climate change, which did not include divestment. Reif said maintaining the institute’s ties with oil and energy companies, who fund research at MIT, is a more effective way to tackle the problem.
Fossil Free MIT members began meeting with administrators just a few days after the sit-in began Oct. 22 and think they might be close to an agreement for more action by the college.
Until then, they’re enjoying camaraderie and the quiet exhilaration that has come from making a stir.
By now, administrators and secretaries know them well.
“Hey Karla,” one student said Friday as Karla Casey, Reif’s executive assistant, passed by. Casey waved back and smiled. One day, an administrator brought them scones.
Across from the door Casey carefully shut behind her, graduate student Michael DeMarco sat on a yoga mat as yellow pieces of paper, dotted with equations, escaped his stack of legal pads.
“You sort of wish that you didn’t need to be here,” said DeMarco, who studies physics. He brought along a computer, two textbooks, and a binder.
Usually, DeMarco sits the night shift, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. In the evening, employees are relaxed, he said.They ask how his day was, he asks what they’re doing with their kids that weekend. It’s all genuine, but it’s also part of the strategy.
“We develop the more mundane relationships that are crucial for bridging the gaps,” DeMarco said.
The administration did not respond to a request for comment about the negotiations.