News, On Campus

CJBC Holds Protest Encouraging BC to Divest From Fossil Fuels

Climate Justice at Boston College (CJBC) spearheaded a protest on the Quad this Wednesday, calling for the University to divest from fossil fuels and arguing that BC’s continued investment in fossil fuels contradicts its Jesuit values.

“The simple reality is that BC’s investments in fossil fuels are simply incompatible with its founding mission of living in service of others,” said Connor Mascioli, a member of CJBC and MCAS ’26. “BC can’t claim to be an institution that follows the mission of the Jesuits when it doesn’t follow its basic responsibilities as a Jesuit university.”

Wednesday’s protest marks the latest demonstration in CJBC’s series of divestment-focused events. CJBC members were joined by a group of students from other environmental advocacy groups, including EcoPledge and Real Food BC.

Protesters expressed frustration, saying BC’s administration has remained silent regarding divestment. They also noted that BC’s Chief Executives Club invited the CEO of ExxonMobil to speak earlier this month.

“As the climate crisis is sort of getting just worse and worse with no end in sight—and having just such little response from BC administration on substantial actions that they’re giving us— it’s important that we at least have some sort of event where we can be visible on campus and have students voices that want to be heard be heard,” Mascioli said.

Gabby Levitt, the president of CJBC and MCAS ’24, kicked off the event with a speech where she said she hoped the protest would provide a forum for students to have open conversation about climate issues. 

“Our goal here is to create a space for environmental activist groups to gather and voice our concerns regarding environmental issues, but also a chance for the greater student body to engage in climate advocacy and provide an outlet to express frustration over climate change,” Levitt said.

Sophie Borrman, the co-director of activism for EcoPledge and MCAS ’24, gave a presentation about the importance of activism, specifically within the realm of climate change. 

“Eco-activism engages with social and political campaigns to reduce human harm to the environment, which in turn harms the cohabitants of the planet, which is not only our home but the home to many valuable lives and resources,” Borrman said.

According to Annie Liu, president of Real Food BC and MCAS ’24, climate change is closely related to Indigenous rights—a connection that she said is especially significant as many Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving next week.

“Time and time again, other people have decided before Indigenous peoples what will happen on their land,” Liu said. “Now, as the harsh consequences of climate change show themselves at a rapid rate, Native Americans are once again at risk of losing their land due to the actions of colonizers looking to turn a profit, rather than preserve or regenerate the planet.”

Sophia Maher, CSON ’24, said the main goal of the protest was to highlight the interdisciplinary nature of divestment and climate change by uniting several climate-focused clubs on campus.

“We just wanted to bring together a lot of environmental clubs to show our support, show that climate justice is not like a one area kind of issue and that it incorporates different disciplines,” Maher said

Joseph Du Pont, associate vice president of career services; Colleen Dallavalle, associate vice president of student engagement and formation; and Corey Kelly, associate vice president and dean of students, were monitoring the protest but declined to comment to The Heights.

Mascioli said he hopes this protest will spark further conversation about divestment in the coming months and beyond. 

“This was sort of a first step in getting our group back on campus and being heard again after a year of relative quiet last year,” Mascioli said. “But we hope to continue to hold events like these next semester, and just hopefully be able to get our voices heard throughout the rest of the year, and next year, and beyond.”

November 17, 2023