As Day 3 of Wash U Student Sit-In Begins, Students Against Peabody is Growing

Written by Julia Ho, student at Washington University

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Student support doubles overnight

As Day Three of the Washington University student sit-in to cut ties with Peabody Energy began this morning, the campaign is growing. Over 40 students slept in tents under the Brookings Archway last night, doubling the number from the previous night. Over the past 48 hours, students have mobilized hundreds of people for the campaign locally and reached thousands of supporters nationally via intense social media outreach. And the attention is not just coming from students--faculty and staff, alumni, community members, national organizations, and even prospective students are starting to take notice as well.

The campaign has even elicited a direct response from Chancellor Wrighton himself, who in an email to the student organizers clearly stated that “[the University] is not going to abandon our partnerships with corporations, the government, and other universities in connection with the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization.”

In response to the Chancellor’s statements, students have laid out detailed action plans for growing their numbers, engaging the campus community, and attracting local media. In particular, the focus of today is to build visuals for the site, plan daily information sessions, and encourage forums on campus for people to engage in dialogues about the sit-in.

“One of our main priorities right now is to create an inclusive and welcoming space for people to learn more about these issues and build community with each other.” said Zachary Hernandez, a senior who has been actively supporting and participating in the sit-in.

This morning, Student Life (the Wash U student newspaper) staff writer Aaron Hall published an op-ed encouraging students to “Show [their] support for [their] fellow classmates...as they challenge the administration to come down from Olympus and converse with us, the students, about Peabody’s role in our school.”

Students remain hopeful that increased pressure from the campus community will lead to negotiations with the Chancellor in the near future.

“Chancellor Wrighton has made his positive feelings towards Peabody very clear, but we are gaining immense support from students and other Wash U community members who know it is time to cut ties with Peabody,” said Matt Re, former Student Union President. “At the end of the day, we feel that these voices are the ones that matter most.”

Students Against Peabody plans on releasing a formal list of demands early tomorrow morning.

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