RISD Students Occupy President's Office

Apr 29, 2013

RISD students protest outside the admin building.
Credit Bradley Campbell

Eleven students at the Rhode Island School of Design are occupying the office of President John Maeda. The students are asking him to support a divestment of all RISD’s investments in fossil fuels.

While the students camped out inside the president’s office …

… Almost one hundred other RISD students took a break from their year-end projects to protest the design school’s investments in fossil fuels.  The protesters gathered at RISD Beach and marched down College Hill to protest in front of RISD’s administration building.

RISD students want President Maeda to divest from fossil fuels.
Credit Bradley Campbell

They want President Maeda and the chair of RISD’s Board of Trustee’s to publically support divestment. Senior Emma Beede says the school invests around $9 million a year in fossil fuels. And while Beede says RISD isn’t known for social justice or advocacy, this cause is getting artists to think beyond their projects.

“As you enter that studio world, you kinda of forget about all the world around you," she says. "So we’re hoping this sit-in. This active civil disobedience will pop that bubble, pop that RISD bubble and let other artists and designs around us know that the world is still there and still looking for our leadership as we move forward.”

Eleven RISD students occupy President John Maeda's office.
Credit Bradley Campbell

The RISD divestment protest is part of a larger group of student protests occurring at some 300 colleges across the nation. In a written statement, RISD says the school is forming a study group on divestment. President John Maeda so far refuses to comment on the eleven students occupying his office.