President Rosenberg agrees to meet with KWOC following Weyerhaeuser barricade

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President Rosenberg agrees to meet with KWOC following Weyerhaeuser barricade

Rebecca Hornstein '13, Leewana Thomas' 14, Hannah Siegel '16, Arianna Feldman '16, and Alex Bartiromo '16 block the east entrance to Weyerhaeuser Hall on Thursday morning. Photo Credit: Emma Kalish '13

Rebecca Hornstein '13, Leewana Thomas' 14, Hannah Siegel '16, Arianna Feldman '16, and Alex Bartiromo '16 block the east entrance to Weyerhaeuser Hall on Thursday morning. Photo Credit: Emma Kalish '13

Rebecca Hornstein '13, Leewana Thomas' 14, Hannah Siegel '16, Arianna Feldman '16, and Alex Bartiromo '16 block the east entrance to Weyerhaeuser Hall on Thursday morning. Photo Credit: Emma Kalish '13

Rebecca Hornstein '13, Leewana Thomas' 14, Hannah Siegel '16, Arianna Feldman '16, and Alex Bartiromo '16 block the east entrance to Weyerhaeuser Hall on Thursday morning. Photo Credit: Emma Kalish '13

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Rebecca Hornstein '13, Leewana Thomas' 14, Hannah Siegel '16, Arianna Feldman '16, and Alex Bartiromo '16 block the east entrance to Weyerhaeuser Hall on Thursday morning. Photo Credit: Emma Kalish '13

Rebecca Hornstein ’13, Leewana Thomas ’14, Hannah Siegel ’16, Arianna Feldman ’16, and Alex Bartiromo ’16 block the east entrance to Weyerhaeuser Hall on Thursday morning. Photo Credit: Emma Kalish ’13

Around twenty members of Kick Wells Fargo Off Campus (KWOC) linked arms with each other at different access points to Weyerhaeuser Hall starting at 7:00 am Thursday morning in order to prevent staff members from entering the premises. The action, which came on the third day of the student occupation of the administrative building, marked another escalation in the group’s campaign. There were five students at the west entrance to the building on Macalester St., five at the east entrance facing campus and three in front of each north- and south-facing door.

“All of the administrators have been ignoring our demands to meet with them,” Sarah Knispel ’15 said while blocking the west entrance. “When we were sitting in in [Rosenberg’s] executive wing, all of the administrators cleared out and went to 77 Mac rather than talk to students. We can no longer be ignored. This is an urgent crisis. We are making it so that Brian Rosenberg cannot ignore us anymore.”

“We are sitting in front of all of the exterior doors to Weyerhaeuser and we are planning to sit here until President Rosenberg agrees to have a meeting with us in which cutting the contract with Wells Fargo is on the table,” Sarah O’Connor ’13 said.

As staff members drove down Macalester St. on their way to park in the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Parking Lot, various security personnel stopped cars to inform employees of the student barricade. Staff members were temporarily redirected to the second floor of the Campus Center.

At least two staff members directly approached KWOC students and criticized their current actions at the building. They specifically mentioned their inability to accomplish work-related tasks because of the group’s barricade.

“I’m sorry that it’s inconvenient for people who need to do their jobs but the point is to be disruptive because we’ve been in there for two days and haven’t been able to get much of a response,” O’Connor said. “We have not been that disruptive. We’ve been noisy but not consistently and not super loud.”

“In general, relations with the administration have been pretty cordial up to this point,” Sara Sandmel ’13 said. “They haven’t officially acknowledged anything that we’re trying to achieve and we want to make sure they understand that we’re serious about our cause.”

At around 9:20 am, President Rosenberg agreed to meet with the group Friday afternoon at 1:00pm to discuss ending the college’s relationship with Wells Fargo. His decision came following a negotiation over the phone between the president, Maya Pisel ’13, a member of KWOC, and David Wheaton, the Vice President of Finance.

After Rosenberg told students that he would meet with them Friday, they returned to the first floor of Weyerhaeuser and ended the barricade. Staff members began to return to the building shortly thereafter.

Administrators did not immediately return requests for comment on the group’s action, but confirmed that a meeting would take place on Friday afternoon.

KWOC is a student group that wants the college to end its purchasing relationship with Wells Fargo in protest of the bank’s mortgage lending policies. They have been partially occupying Weyerhaeuser, the main administrative building on campus, since Tuesday morning following the college’s decision to maintain its existing contract.