The worldwide movement to divest from fossil fuel companies is rapidly escalating. According to the Fossil Free campaign, 1055 institutions have committed to divesting $8.73 trillion, including seven U.S. News-ranked liberal arts colleges: College of the Atlantic, Warren Wilson, Northland, Pitzer, Lewis and Clark, Whitman, and most recently Middlebury, which shares Carleton’s ranking.
Considering this momentum, we compare the Carleton Board of Trustees’s stated reasons for refusing divestment with the reasoning of the seven liberal arts colleges.
In reply to the recent “Every Carl for Carleton” campaign, set to raise the college’s endowment to over $1 billion, alumni are enhancing pressure for the administration and board of trustees to divest from fossil fuels. The response campaign, “Every Carl for Divest,” intends to highlight Carleton’s moral ideals that the capital campaign advertises, the greater financial possibility of divestment with a larger endowment, and alumni involvement within the divest movement.
by Rebecca Hahn and Brett Smith
The support for Carleton to divest from fossil fuels has been high for years, and is only continuing to grow. This past reunion, the alumni Divest Carleton group collected over 300 additional signatures on its petition, for a total of over 1300. The student petition, as of 2017, listed over 1000 signatures. The recently formed Carls Talk Back movement also included divestment from fossil fuels in its list of demands.
Divest Carleton’s request is for the College to divest from all its fossil fuel holdings, including those commingled in the endowment. But the Board of Trustees hasn’t even taken the easy step of dropping its fossil fuel direct holdings. This is despite the near-unanimous recommendation by the Carleton Responsible Investment Committee in 2015 that it do so (a recommendation that the Board itself requested).