A demonstration against the University’s investment in fossil fuel companies was held on Wednesday, March 4. It was put on by Divest LMU, a student coalition formed by the environmental club EcoStudents and ASLMU.
The demonstration started with students meeting at different points across campus and walking to Regents Terrace. It culminated with a march to University Hall. Students held painted signs with sayings like “no rest ‘til divest” and “LMU is complacent in environmental racism.” Marchers also chanted “disclose, divest, or this movement will not rest” and “hey board of trustees, make our investments fossil free.”
This demonstration was part of a larger movement across the University for divestment of fossil fuels. Student activists have been working since 2013 to encourage divestment, but their actions have intensified in the past semester, as reported in a previous article written by the Loyolan.
Divest LMU was recently met with support from the Jesuit community on campus. In an email to the coalition, the rector of the Jesuits, Allan F. Deck, S.J., wrote that the divestment movement is “consistent with the growing concerns” of the Catholic Church regarding ecological degradation and environmental injustice. Deck said that he is “happy to express the support of the LMU Jesuit Community” to the administration.
“[Investing in fossil fuels] is completely against our Jesuit values which [the University] teaches us to uphold,” said Elizabeth Morris, sophomore environmental studies major and member of Divest LMU.
During the demonstration, a number of student activists spoke, urging onlookers and participants to support the divestment movement.
Kiana Liu, a freshman film and television production major, spoke about her first-hand experiences of environmental changes affecting her home in Maui, Hawaii. “In my small community, we aren’t the ones creating the pollution,” she said. “So why are we, then, faced with the brunt of the forces?”
Divest LMU plans to continue their student-led activism, and hopes they will be met with cooperation from the University administration.