Divest Carleton hosted a panel discussion in the Goodhue Superlounge that attracted 88 participants and generated great discussions.
The panel was moderated by Joel Weisberg, professor of physics and astronomy. Panelists included Daniel Groll, professor of philosophy and the faculty co-chair of the Carleton Responsible Investment Committee (CRIC); Aaron Swoboda, ’01, professor of environmental studies and economics; David Loy, ’69, author of Echodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis; Maddie Halloran, ’14, natural resources graduate student; and David Roizin, ’20, Divest Carleton student leader and economics major.
Divest Carleton is working to host another panel at the Reunion in June 2020. Contact Divest Carleton at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to assist in our efforts!
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.
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).
Members of the Class of 2016 sent an email to their fellow graduates last month, calling on them to protest the Board’s refusal to divest from fossil fuels by withholding contributions to the traditional “class gift.” The result was the smallest class gift donation in recent memory, and a powerful rebuke to the college from its newly-minted alumni. Here is the text of their email:
Two years ago we posted the text of Dr. Loy’s speech on the occasion of the awarding of his degree. He spoke eloquently then about the moral obligation to engage in the ecological challenges of our time, and specifically called upon Carleton College to divest. The Board has refused. Here is the text of his letter delivered on Earth Day 2016.
We received this letter — which has already been sent to President Poskanzer — from the author, with permission to publish it. He has suspended his monthly contributions to Carleton, and taken the college out of his will, as a result of the Board of Trustees’ vote against divestment.