Community members and Students for a Free Tibet protested the University of California Board of Regents’ investment in BP Amoco Tuesday, chanting, “UC Regents, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”

Currently, the regents have invested approximately $300 million, or six million shares, in BP Amoco, the third-largest petroleum company in the world. BP Amoco is linked to PetroChina Oil, an organization accused of both environmental and human rights abuses in Tibet.

On April 19, at BP Amoco’s Annual General Meeting, DeWitt F. Bowman, the regents’ treasurer, voted against Resolution 17, which called for BP Amoco to divest its $578-million share of PetroChina Oil.

Approximately 50 students and community members began chanting outside Cheadle Hall Tuesday around 11 a.m. to protest the vote. The protesters then went inside Cheadle Hall, to Chancellor Henry Yang’s office to voice their demands.

After listening to protesters’ demands, Yang told the protesters he would bring their demands to the regents before the next meeting, which is in two months.

“I will communicate this with the regents,” Yang said. “I understand that this is a very important issue. I was at the regents’ meeting last week, but we were very busy with the repeal of SP-1 and SP-2.”

Past groups have been successful in their attempts to influence the regents’ financial decisions. Last November, the board considered placing 15.9 percent of its $52.9 billion in investment assets into the Russell 3000 index – a collection of stocks that includes six tobacco companies.

The regents decided not to invest in the index after receiving a host of letters from public health and campus groups protesting the proposed investment in tobacco companies.

Students for a Free Tibet organized yesterday’s protest. Daniel Gross, the president and co-founder of SFT, said students should be concerned because the regents are investing student money.

“We will not let Tibet be exploited in our name and with our money,” Gross said. “If the voice of the students comes together, the regents will have to listen.

“We came here today to make sure the representative to the regents on our campus knows that we won’t stand for this,” Gross said. “We will hold [Yang] responsible. As a group we’re deeply disturbed by the University’s involvement in the situation in Tibet.”

Protesters gave Yang a three-point proposal explaining their demands of the regents. First, they said the regents must publicly demand that BP divest from PetroChina. Second, they called for financial policy that is “socially responsible.” Third, they asked the regents to express their support for the Tibetan people’s attempts to free themselves from oppression and their right to self-determination.

The SFT UCSB chapter was founded last month, making it UCSB’s newest student group. Eneri Rodriguez, Associated Students external vice president for statewide affairs-elect, attended the protest and said she was impressed with the group’s ability to promptly organize events.

“This group is really passionate and really powerful right now,” Rodriguez said. “It’s amazing that I can work with them. As EVPSA, I’m the students’ direct link to the regents, and I’m trying to do more outreach to organizations outside of A.S.”

SFT is an organization intended to educate people about both human rights abuses in Tibet and Tibetan culture, Gross said.

“Our goals are three-part,” he said. “One, to bring direct action, as we did today. We’re representing Tibetans who don’t have a voice otherwise. Two, to educate people about Tibetan cultures and three, to give direct humanitarian support to those suffering in Tibet.”

The Dalai Lama, a religious and political leader for Tibetan people, has spoken out in favor of SFT and its activism. SFT works closely with the Dalai Lama and members of the campus chapter of SFT recently had the opportunity to meet with him, Gross said.

“His main message was nonviolence,” Gross said. “He expanded on that saying that nonviolence does not just mean an absence of violence. It means being peaceful in all your actions, whether it’s protesting or picnicking with your family.”

The Dalai Lama has come to UCSB twice and has also been to the chancellor’s house, Yang said.

“The respect shown to the Dalai Lama last time he came was wonderful,” Yang said. “When he walked out to speak in Campbell Hall, you could’ve heard a pin drop.”

Rodriguez said she felt yesterday’s protest was very productive and showed the unity and commitment of SFT.

“Today was amazing,” she said. “Honestly, this is one of the most effective protests I’ve been to in a while, and I’ve been to a lot of protests.”