March 21, 2019 Update:
Today President Schlissel sent a letter to the members of the Climate Action Movement to acknowledge, and accept, their request for a special town hall meeting for the president to discuss the path for U-M to achieve carbon neutrality and to hear directly from the community. The event has been scheduled for April 9 at 5-6 p.m. in Rackham Auditorium.
In his letter, the president said, “To achieve our shared goal of carbon neutrality as soon as possible, it is essential that the community engage in identifying and understanding the challenges and contributing to the solutions necessary to convert from fossil fuels to non-carbon sources of energy. I will continue to look for opportunities to engage with your membership and the broader community on these issues—everyone has a role to play.” Read the full letter here.
March 15, 2019
University of Michigan statement regarding climate change protest
We appreciate the urgency our students feel regarding climate change.
President Mark Schlissel shares that sense of urgency.
President Schlissel has committed the campus to carbon neutrality and has appointed a special commission to explore a pathway to achieving that goal including solutions to climate change that go well beyond the borders of the campus. That critical work is now under way.
Protesters occupied the President’s Office from about 1:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. The president was away from campus today.
University officials informed the protesters repeatedly throughout the day that they must leave the building when it closed at 5 p.m. Following several discussions with the protesters, the university extended the departure deadline to 8 p.m.
The Division of Public Safety and Security provided an outline of the process at about 7:45 p.m. about what would happen if they stayed past 8 p.m. Additional time checks were provided at 10 minutes and 5 minutes. At 8 p.m. the remaining protesters were arrested and escorted from the building. There were 10 arrests including two juveniles.
Protesters asked for a student-led town hall meeting with the president on climate change and some protesters refused to leave until they got a response tonight. The president recently met with some of the protesters during his regular student office hours.
Special Counsel to the President Liz Barry talked with protesters throughout the afternoon and told them their request would be carefully considered and she committed to responding to the group quickly about their request for a town hall with the president.
There already has been one public town hall meeting of the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality and there is another scheduled for April 3. We encourage everyone to participate in those sessions.