May 2, 2014

Seven Students Arrested At Washington University in St. Louis As Fossil Fuel Protests Spread Across the Country

May 2, 2014
Contact: Caroline Burney, [email protected], (815) 527-1265

Students Call on Peabody Coal CEO Greg Boyce to Resign from the Board of Trustees

St. Louis–Seven students were arrested at Washington University in St. Louis this morning when they tried to enter a building where their Board of Trustees was holding its quarterly meeting. The students were calling on Peabody CEO Greg Boyce to resign from the university’s Board of Trustees.

A group of about 100 students rallied in front of the Knight Center, where the Board of Trustees meeting was being held, and then marched to the main doors of the building. Students were faced by a line of police, locked arms, and stated that they were not leaving until they were let into the building to speak with Greg Boyce about his role at the University and on the Board of Trustees. After about forty minutes of singing and chanting, seven students were arrested by St. Louis County Police The arrests come just one day after Harvard student divestment activists blockaded their administration building, leading to one arrest.

“I am proud to be standing up to Peabody Coal today,“ said Julia Ho, one of the students who was arrested. “For too long, fossil fuel corporations have used their partnerships with universities to legitimize their destructive and unjust business practices. That must stop. Students across the country are fighting back against the fossil fuel industry and will keep fighting back until until fossil fuels are off of our campuses.”

Today’s arrests come after a 17 day occupation outside of Brookings Hall pressuring Washington University to end its relationship with Peabody Coal. Currently, Greg Boyce sits on the Board of Trustees, and, in 2009, Peabody donated $5 million to the University to start its Consortium for ‘Clean Coal’ Utilization.

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 and displacement of indigenous and rural communities in places including Black Mesa, Arizona and Rocky Branch, Illinois, and interference in democratic processes through their recent lawsuit against the local Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative.

“Today’s arrests are part of a larger fight against Peabody Coal in St. Louis, across the country, and around the world,” said Caroline Burney, one of the student member of Students Against Peabody. “We’re here for ourselves and for all of the other communities that Greg Boyce and Peabody Coal have destroyed, including including Rocky Branch, Illinois and Black Mesa, Arizona. Our fight will continue here in St. Louis at next week’s Peabody shareholder’s meeting and in Black Mesa at the end of May.”

The seven students are currently being held at the University while the school administrators and the police decide how to charge them. They are considering campus and criminal charges.

Pictures and Video are available on request.

Students are available for comment throughout the day.