Video: Pro-Divestment Student Group Interrupts Tufts Information Session

Classless prefrosh dad of the year: “I’m going to get security if you don’t shut the hell up.”

As the debate over fossil fuel investments continues raging in the NESCAC blogosphere, members of a Tufts student group calling itself Tufts Divest For Our Future infiltrated an admissions information session last week to ask about the University’s investments. Not quite as epic as sending a fake press release to over 150 national and local media outlets claiming the University is formally divesting from the war and fossil fuels industries, but whatever—it’ll do.

In The ‘Cac managed to obtain video footage of the incident, which appears below. Curiously, the most hostile party caught on tape is not the questioner, who politely but insistently inquires, nor the admissions officer (or student?) leading the session, who suggests that they discuss the subject after the session. It’s the disgruntled prefrosh dad who swings into action with some seriously misguided hero fantasies, growling, “We came here to learn about the University. Stop wasting our time! I’m going to get security if you don’t shut the hell up.” Can’t imagine how mortified his kid must’ve been, sinking into hir chair like Harry Potter wearing the Sorting Hat. “Daaaaad. You’re embarrassing me in front of the other prefrosh!”

Streaming the footage, I was immediately reminded of a demonstration during Wesleyan’s Parents’ Weekend, when members of Need Blind Wes surprised President Roth with questions and comments about the dismantling of need-blind. But those parents were much more sympathetic to the cause, as video footage from the forum displays; one dad went so far as to compare Roth to George H. W. Bush (and not because of Roth’s habit of vomiting on Japanese prime ministers).

A more fitting parallel falls on the national campus movement to divest from South Africa’s apartheid regime during the 1970s and ’80s. At Wesleyan, the movement gained tremendous momentum, resulting in several huge protests and a student occupation of President Colin Campbell’s office. Then, in 1986, student protesters began periodically interrupting campus tours to draw attentions to a number of activist concerns, including (I think) South African divestment. (Somebody remind me to do a From The Argives post about this eventually please.) The efforts paid off in the early ’90s, when President Chace finally signed off on divestment.

So what about fossil fuels? Should Wesleyan divest? And where’s all the hullabaloo on campus?

Sound off in the comments, but don’t get too worked up about it because (spoiler alert) this will be the subject of a guest op-ed that’s coming soon. At this rate, I’m expecting Martin Benjamin ’57 to pen a rambling 1,300-word Wespeak on the subject by early May.

Related
Middlebury Students Send Fake Administrative Email to Encourage Divestment
Students Initiate Fuel Divestment Campaign (Argus)

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  • Batte_A

    How the fuck does does liberal arts college activism manage to be so awkward all the time? Ah, nostalgia.

  • Alum ’12

    What seems pretty surreal about this isn’t the students’ interruption, or even the dad’s aggression, but that the rest of the audience is applauding him.

    • My perception was that that audience is applauding the dad, not the students. (Is that what you meant as well?)

      • Alum ’12

        Yep

      • Alum ’12

        Yep

    • Not surreal at all. If I had been a parent, I would have been in that Divesture club guy’s face too. I remember that room. We toured about eight schools for my son/daughter some years ago. I am grateful that Tufts had no attraction for my kid. There were plenty of students of that ilk among the tour guides and around campus. Poorly informed, not all that bright, and easily misled. They had an earnest, doofy vibe that I found repellent. It was the worst tour we went on by a mile. This vid is just more evidence that Tuft has a leadership problem.