A handful of student protesters gathered on Ho Plaza Thursday afternoon to denounce Cornell’s policy reversal on the Climate Action Plan to achieve campus “carbon neutrality” by 2035.
The student protesters, numbering about 25, took turns speaking about why they disagree with Garrett’s position. Then then went into various chants and slogans, including “Cornell, step off it! People over profit!” and “Enough of Cornell’s phony solutions! Support the SA’s resolution!” The latter was in reference to a Student Assembly resolution debated and passed on Thursday that asked Garrett to change her position on the 2035 target plan set forth by previous Cornell President David Skorton.
Earlier in the month, the Cornell Sun reported Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett opposes the 2035 plan, and said, “For me, the more important thing is the research and creative work and education that goes on and not thinking about some arbitrary year date that we really haven’t studied with respect with how feasible it is for us to reach that.”
According to the Sun report, “Skorton pledged to transform Cornell into a carbon neutral campus by 2035 as a way of addressing climate change. The Climate Action Plan report consisted of 16 specific recommendations and prioritized six ‘key milestones’ to help achieve this goal.”
The policy reversal was met by student activist derision, with the group DivestNOW! Cornell organizing Thursday’s demonstration, officially called “MOBILIZE: SA Climate Action Plan Rally.”
Throughout the outside portion of the mobilization, several of the protest leaders commented about the cold temperature, which stood at 19 degrees Fahrenheit at the time with a “feels like” temperature of 10 degrees. After about ten minutes of speeches and chanting, they quickly filed into Willard Straight Hall, where the SA meets, which is coincidentally heated by burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.