Divest UO hosts mock wedding between UO Foundation and fossil fuel companies
The University of Oregon Foundation married the fossil fuel industry today in a mock political theater act presented by Divest UO. The event was the culmination of the campaign’s 35-day sit in at Johnson Hall.
Dozens attended the wedding, which featured a sharply dressed duck marrying a smokestack in a white dress.
“Their decision to marry has not been entered into lightly,” the priest told the audience, “and today they publicly declare their private devotion to each other.”
“If anyone can show just cause as to why this couple cannot lawfully be joined together in matrimony, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.”
Several members of the audience stood up to oppose the union:
“This marriage isn’t about love!”
“End this farce of a marriage while you still can!”
“I object on behalf of kids too young to know the consequences of your actions!”
Faculty Senate President Randy Sullivan joined in to oppose the union. “Oil, you and me go way back. Ever since I was 16 and bought my first car,” he said. “You think you have to do this, but you don’t.” The Senate voted to urge UO to divest from oil in January of 2015.
The UO Foundation’s best man then took the mic to explain the benefits of fossil fuel investment.
“This union is about maximizing returns in a beautiful way,” he said. “There will be no further dialogue during this ceremony.” The speech was a parody of a recent email conversation between Divest UO and administration that went public.
The priest then read the bride and groom their vows.
“Fossil fuel industry, do you pledge to share your life with University of Oregon Foundation? Do you promise to cherish alumni donations and maximize returns for their investments? Will you encourage the foundation, stand with them, in sickness and in health, through oil spills and drilling, through water contamination and government subsidies, ’til death do you part?”
Fossil fuels agreed, but the the UO Foundation’s response was interrupted by audience members chanting, “UO Foundation destroys this nation!”
Eventually, the foundation left the ceremony, a runaway groom.
“I think it went really well,” Divest member Selena Blick said. She said the group got the idea from other schools who put on similar performances.
From here, the campaign is focusing on promoting a national fundraiser called Divest Fund that supports universities that divest from fossil fuels.
“We’re putting a lot of energy into that fund,” Blick said. “We’re meeting with the Board of Trustees in June and organizing an event during the next Board meeting also in June.”
If the UO doesn’t commit to divest from fossil fuels by the end of 2017, any money pledged to UO in the fund will be dispersed to other schools who have committed to divesting.
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