LOW LIBRARY – Sitting cross-legged on the floor of Low Library, members of Columbia Divest for Climate Justice (CDCJ) enjoyed the building’s air conditioning on Sunday. “We are sending a very strong message that Columbia needs to stop propagating the exploitation of the Earth,” said protester Noah Jones CC ’18 as he fanned himself with a sign reading ‘DIVEST NOW.’
“I’ll admit that I’m a little grateful to be inside today,” Jones confessed. “Wearing sunscreen is always a moral dilemma for me – which is worse: another ocean-destined plastic tube or cancer?”
“No, it’s horrible that we’re holed up in such a perfectly climate-controlled building,” countered Josephine Moskowitz CC ‘17. “Without humidity, my hair loses its ‘cat lady’ aesthetic.”
The building’s temperature was so well-regulated that students resented their energy-wasting comfort in the heat of the afternoon. They began passing around a fair-trade, hand-woven Andean blanket in defiance of the refreshing building temperature. Passionately seeking a cooler climate, however, one dozing protester was caught by Public Safety as he sleep-crawled into an air conditioning duct.
“This protest is the best thing that could have happened today,” said Jim Morelli, a Public Safety officer, as he kept guard over the activists. “I would have been placed out there at the Days on Campus activity fair, watching the neurotic parents planning their kids’ resumes. But instead, I’m playing Candy Crush in this beautiful, perfectly temperate building. You bet I support this protest – I even signed the CDCJ petition.”
Like most Columbia protests, the activists have had to fight a vigorous counter-protest from the start. The Columbia Students for Body Odor Justice (SBOJ) unveiled its “HVAC Invest” campaign, demanding that the administration allocate endowment funds to air conditioning units in residence halls.
The protesters also face a tough backlash from Rules Administrator Suzanne Goldberg. Charging the CDCJ activists with breaching the Rules of Conduct, Goldberg sent the organization Low Library’s air conditioning bill. “In violation of the Rules of Conduct, the students’ opening and closing of the Low doors disrespectfully interrupted the near-perfect climate control enjoyed by other members of our community,” Goldberg said. “They will be disciplined accordingly, most likely by having to spend a boiling week in August in the John Jay attic.”
As of press time, Columbia Facilities was slashing the building’s enormous air conditioning consumption in an effort to drive out the protesters.