Press Coverage


Richard Heinberg speakingPost Carbon Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg's alternative commencement speech to Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil was reported in the Washington Post and the Boston Globe.

From the Washington Post article:

Eco-conscious students and facility members at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have the option to listen to an alternative commencement speaker Saturday instead of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Students who plan to attend the alternative address given by Richard Heinberg, a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, will be allowed to join the commencement ceremony after Tillerson speaks. WPI has acknowledged that ExxonMobil donated $1.3 million in funding for K-12 outreach programs.

“To choose the CEO of ExxonMobil as the speaker - to me, it doesn't align with that statement that we are concerned with the ethical implications of our energy use,” Linnea M. Palmer Paton, a graduating senior, told the Worcester Telegram.

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From the Boston Globe article:

The alternative ceremony will be held at the same site and begin one hour after the close of the regular graduation, marking a compromise between students who objected to Tillerson’s presence and administrators seeking to minimize disruption.

“The goal was to protect the integrity of the ceremony,’’ said Eileen Brangan Mell, a university spokeswoman.

Of the nearly 1,200 students graduating, 26 have told administrators they plan to skip the first part of the ceremony, through the end of Tillerson’s speech, before arriving. After he finishes, they will walk across the stage with the other graduates.

Students who are spearheading the protest said more graduates are unhappy that Tillerson is speaking and will wear green ribbons as a show of solidarity with those refusing to attend.

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