U.S. representative’s energy stance focus of student protest

“Way to go, Smokey Joe,” a group of student protesters chanted outside the Alumni and Visitors Center on Monday night.About 12 students gathered to protest U.S. Rep. Joe Barton’s energy policies and to reinforce that global climate change is a real issue when Barton, R-Texas, visited campus Monday.

James Russell, a freshman English major, said this protest is especially important to him because he feels Barton’s policies have a bias toward energy and oil companies.

Through research, Russell said he discovered that these energy companies have given more than $2.1 million to Barton’s campaign.

Russell said man-made climate change is avoidable and he’s unsatisfied with Barton’s attempts to resolve the issue.

Robert Grebel, a senior political science major, said he sees Barton as an obstruction in reversing environmental damage.

Grebel is the president of TCU Peace Action, an organization he said strives to educate TCU and the Fort Worth community about peace and nonviolence.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Don Mills was in attendance at the protest.

Mills said he supports student protests because students have a right to express their views and make a point.

A protest raises awareness and forces students to think of issues outside their daily life, Mills said. Russell, a first-time protestor, organized the protest to raise awareness about man-made climate change.

Russell said he hoped to see more students involved in the protest. However, he said, he was satisfied with the turnout.

“There’s something to say about an engaged student body,” he said.

Grebel said students should realize politics affect them directly.

Grebel attended the campus protest to the former Ambassador to Iraq Paul Bremer in February 2006, he said.

Despite a lack of student participation in political activism, Grebel said, he will continue to attend protests mainly because “somebody has to do it.