(This letter was recently sent from a Carleton alumnus to President Poskanser, regarding his decision to withhold donations to Carleton until the Board of Trustees votes to divest from fossil fuels. Instead, as he notes, he is contributing to the Carleton College Fossil Free Fund. He has given us permission to share his letter so that others can consider taking this action and sending similar communication.)
A member of the Board of Trustees responded recently to CRIC (Carleton Responsible Investment Committee) that the Board is concerned about involving itself in “political” actions. The Carletonian invited Op-Ed responses — and got them in spades. Check out these great articles, which cover a wide range of perspectives on whether divestment is political and whether that matters.
Our Carleton faculty have written the attached letter to the administration and the Board of Trustees, supporting divestment from fossil fuels: “The business model of the fossil fuels industry is on a collision course with the life of the planet. We cannot in good conscience stay invested in this industry.” As of today, the letter has 69 signators, and growing. We are so grateful to our professors for taking this important step.
Rolling Stone. Ostensibly an entertainment magazine, they were the home of political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson and PJ O’Rourke. It has covered the abduction of Patty Hearst; interviewed Daniel Ellsberg and Desmond Tutu; and covered the war on Afghanistan. And now the Rolling Stone turns its attention to fossil fuel divestment and lays out the argument for why it is the logical thing to do.
Today, over 60 (with more signing every hour, it’s hard to print a firm number) faculty members signed and sent an open letter to the administration and the Board of Trustees calling for divestment from fossil fuels. You can read the full text of the letter here.
Coverage in The Carletonian is anticipated with the first issue of Winter Term next week.
One of our alumni approached Divest Carleton about providing a more specific description of the companies in which Carleton is invested. (See our August 2014 posting on this subject.) We’d like to thank and acknowledge the effort of Roy Luck (’93) for his expertise and assistance in writing these company descriptions.
CARLETON’S ENDOWMENT AND HOLDINGS IN THE TOP 200 FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES—SPRING 2014
$780 MILLION is the approximate total value of Carleton’s Endowment as of May 2014. This total ranks Carleton just outside the top 100 colleges and universities. This total is managed by outside managers hired by the college. No social or environmental “screens” are applied to these funds, but investment manager behavior and ethics are taken into account. This total can be divided into two broad categories: commingled funds or partnerships and direct holdings.
First, thanks to Professor Jackson for his kind words, and to the college for this truly unexpected honor [an honorary doctoral degree]. The last time I was on campus was for my own graduation back in 1969, which was special for a very different reason. At that time the Vietnam War was at its height, and graduation meant the end of draft deferments for men, which meant we were eligible to be drafted and sent to fight in Vietnam. A few months earlier, however, two other seniors (Harold Henderson and Paul Smith) and I had decided (after much discussion and soul-searching) that the Vietnam War was immoral, illegal, and just plain stupid, and that we would refuse to cooperate. So we sent our draft cards back to our local boards, and after graduation I worked with the Draft Resistance movement in San Francisco, while waiting for an induction notice that I would refuse, which would probably lead to a felony conviction and a few years in federal prison. But just a couple weeks before that would have happened, the Selective Service changed their method of selection into a lottery according to birthday, and ironically all three of us had low numbers, so none of us was ever drafted.
June 13, 2014
Mr. Brett A. Smith
Minneapolis, MN 55419
Dear Brett (if I may):
I appreciate that you took the time to share your views with me in your letter of May 8 and I respect that your sentiments about dívestment from all fossil fuel-related stocks are shared by some other members of the College community.
May 8, 2014
President Steven Poskanzer
One North College Street
Northfield, MN 55057
Dear President Poskanzer:
As a Carleton alumnus from the class of 1964 preparing to attend my 50 year reunion next month, I want to express my appreciation for your leadership in making Carleton a greener campus and in taking seriously the responsibility to reduce the carbon footprint associated with campus activities. Carleton’s membership in the College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and its development and implementation of a Climate Action Plan are steps that make me proud to be a Carleton alum.