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Bowdoin Students Stage Sit-in Over Fossil Fuel Divestment

Patty Wight

BRUNSWICK, Maine - More than two dozen Bowdoin students have parked themselves on the second floor of the library outside the college president's office this morning, demanding a process to begin to get the school to divest from fossil fuels. 

"We walked in.  We read our demands and hung up a banner and sat down," says student Allyson Gross. "We are in it until we start a conversation."

Last April, Bowdoin Climate Action presented 1,000 student signatures - representing the majority of the campus - for divestment to President Barry Mills.  More than 70 faculty members also support the move. 

Allyson Gross says the sit-in is the culmination of a three-year effort, including a meeting with the board of trustees last fall that students say was cut off when they asked about next steps in the divestiture process.  

"The demand, currently, is to move forward through the institutional channels," she says. "So we want to see the creation of a working group consisting of faculty, students from Bowdoin Climate Action and the board of trustees to engage in an actual committee process and figure out how divestment would work at the college."

Gross says students were encouraged by the news Tuesday that Syracuse University had joined a growing number of colleges and universities, including Unity College  and the University of Maine, to take similar steps.  

A spokesman for Bowdoin College said a statement from the school is expected shortly.