Seattle University’s divestment campaign seems like the “will they, won’t they” movement of the year.
Last week, Sustainable Student Action (SSA) released a statement saying that they did not accept the administration’s rejection of their quest to divest, and would continue to work toward that end.
Additionally, students accepted the administration’s offer to collaborate on some new projects for sustainability at Seattle U, and say they are excited to pursue this relationship.
Chief Financial Officer Connie Kanter said she is excited to move forward with SSA and will schedule a series of meetings throughout the rest of the school year.
Sustainable Student Action (SSA) held a divestment rally in the Quad.
Additionally, Kanter said that the continued pursuit of divestment is a discomfort; her focus is on the positive steps they can take in collaboration on other fronts, such as focusing part of the endowment on positive investments.
“I’m hopeful that the students in SSA will see where they can have a positive influence and recognize that they should focus on where they can have that positive influence,” Kanter said.
The administration’s willingness to talk speaks to the university’s commitment to sustainability, Kanter said, whereas other universities have rejected student movements without further discourse.
However, divestment supporters maintain that the university’s practices should be better aligned with its mission statement.
Students protest outside of a donor luncheon last week. Many students are pushing for the university to divest from fossil fuels.
“We’re working for a just and humane world, and we don’t have time for ‘no’,” said SSA member Becca Clark-Hargreaves.
On Monday night, students rallied in support of the Seattle U divest movement; attendees made divestment t-shirts, learned about the issue, and listened to speakers and music about divestment.
“I feel like we need to practice what we preach,” said Emma Engelfried, a student in attendance.
Evan Britton, another student, said that he admired the persistence of the SSA.
“It’s a great campaign,” he said. At the rally, attendees spoke about the historic importance of divestment during apartheid, exploitation as it relates to divestment, and how important it is for the students at Seattle U to continue the fight. SSA member Ashlan Runyan gave the evening’s closing speech, saying “we started this conversation, so we get to decide when it’s over.”