For further questions, please contact Hoai An Pham at firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/867915653572048/?active_tab=about
Facebook page: Washtenaw County Climate Strike
Twitter and Instagram: @climatestrikewc
On May 16, 2019, seven participants of the Washtenaw County Climate Strike were charged with misdemeanor trespass as a result of the March 15th sit-in in President Mark Schlissel’s office at the University of Michigan Fleming Administration Building. The arrests came after a year of significant student engagement with the University around its climate policies, which have been criticized for lagging behind peer institutions, with significantly more ambitious climate goals called for by the student Central Student Government.
The seven participants are scheduled to appear in the Washtenaw County 15th Judicial Court, located at 301 E. Huron Street, at 9:30AM on Thursday, May 30th, 2019. A call for supporters to respectfully pack the courtroom was put out in a Facebook event, which the organizers invite media and community members to attend
. Currently, they are being represented by lawyer Angie Martell.
They are facing fines of up to $250 each, as well as any potential lawyer fees that may arise. Further, many of the participants are not located in Ann Arbor, and will have to pay travel fees to go to court.
Including all of the people who were arrested (9), the fines could be as high as $2250. Travel fees would be around $300 per person traveling each time. The rest of the money would be for any potential lawyer fees, which could be much more than what we are budgeting for. We will likely need this money as soon as ten days.
Any leftover money will be donated to local groups who are doing climate justice work.
Of the seven being charged, two are adult community members, and five were at the time affiliated with the University of Michigan either as workers or as students. Nine total people were arrested on March 15th, including two minors aged 15 and 16 who have not yet received charges. The 15 year old minor and one community member are currently banned (via U-M trespass citations) from all of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus, while the other arrestees are banned from the Fleming Building for one year. We are unsure why the citations differed.
After the sit-in, police told arrestees that if the University pursued charges for the action they they would receive a notice within two weeks. It is unclear why the charges are being brought over two months later, after President Schlissel publicly deflected criticism of the arrests by noting that charges had not been brought. These charges also come after most students have left campus, including a number of the student arrestees, who are now being forced to return to the state for court. "This kind of retaliation against activists is an embarrassing sign of the lengths that U-M is willing to go to to resist the pressure to adopt effective climate mitigation practices" said one of the climate organizers charged with trespass.
We are grateful for any funds that you would be able to donate. We want to be clear that our main focus is not these charges, but towards fighting for carbon neutrality and climate justice.