This morning, Bank of America campus recruiters at the University of California (UC) at Berkeley who were working to recruit students into the bank’s internship program got a reality check about the Bank of America’s involvement in the financing of the coal industry.
Early in the morning, about half a dozen UC students staged interventions into Bank of America’s recruitment interviews at the UC Career Center — and raised concerns about the bank’s involvement with the coal sector. The student interventions stopped the recruitment interviews as Bank of America staff heard about the impacts of the bank’s investment portfolio.
A few moments later, about 20 more students and activists joined them at the UC Career Center. The second wave further confronted the Career Center and Bank of America’s recruitment staff with questions about the bank’s policies on coal, climate change, and greenwashing. Outside the Career Center, students and activists rallied to call out the bank’s destructive investment practices as potential recruits entered the building.
Bank of America is one of the top funders of the coal industry, both in the mining and coal-burning utility sectors. Between 2010 and 2011, it pumped $6.8 billion into the U.S. coal industry, the single largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Gabe Schwartzman, a student at UC Berkeley who participated in–and helped organize–the action said: “Students everywhere are refusing to work for the largest funder of coal and climate change—Bank of America. Until the bank addresses its coal problem, young people on college campuses will be bringing this issue to the table.”
This action was one of a series of actions happening across the country targeting Bank of America recruiters on campuses across the country. As student activists are organizing campus divestment campaigns against fossil fuels, and climate activists are taking action against pipelines, coal mines, and fracking wells — the campaign against the coal industry’s financial backers is beginning to heat up.