by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Tulane University activists are demanding that the school divest from fossil fuels and establish a $15 minimum wage as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Washington Free Beacon obtained a copy of a student-authored letter that claims that left-wing policies are the only way to ensure a safe return to campus. Demands include a $15 minimum wage and divestment from fossil fuels. The “Spring 2021 Demands” letter also reiterates previous calls to abolish campus police and give reparations to the descendants of slaves who worked on the plantation that became Tulane’s campus.
The letter begins by calling on the university to offer virtual-learning options to students and professors as well as a pass/fail grading option until more vaccines can be distributed. Its signatories argue that “having a low income is a health concern” and that the fossil-fuel industry causes hurricanes, which makes CDC pandemic guidelines more difficult to follow.
“The response to hurricanes—evacuation and sheltering in large groups—is inherently incompatible with the response to COVID-19—staying at home and social distancing,” the letter reads. “The fossil fuel industry is directly to blame for the climate change that makes hurricane season worse every year, and it is more urgent than ever for Tulane to divest and stop supporting these companies with its endowment dollars.”
Tulane’s Black Student Union, one of the letter’s signatories, previously submitted a list of demands to administrators in July. That list inspired four others, including one that calls for the abolition of campus police. The university residential assistants also created their own list of demands, claiming they have been “mistreated, undervalued, and overworked” because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rachel Altman, a senior at Tulane, told the Free Beacon that activists would have more success if they didn’t bundle reasonable demands with radical ones.