Divest Carleton has been demanding that Carleton College divest its endowment from fossil fuels for the past eight years and from the military-industrial complex and private prisons since 2020. After years of negotiation with no commitment to act from the President of the College or the Board of Trustees, the students of Divest occupied the Weitz Center for Creativity during their meeting in October 2022. Under orders from the President, Security asked students to leave on Monday, October 31, with possible consequences of suspension or arrest if they didn’t comply. The President announced days later that the Board would vote on divestment from fossil fuels during their Winter Term meeting, which will take place from February 9-11. Yet they have refused to include students, faculty or staff on the committee to draft their divestment plan, host open forums for feedback, or even release the plan prior to its vote. The only information they have shared on its content is that it will not consider divestment from the military industry.
As a response, the students of Divest Carleton have compiled a list of demands to ensure that the plan on divestment is comprehensive, clearly communicated and written in collaboration with the wider Carleton community. These demands are listed in the letter below.
Dear Carleton Board of Trustees,
Seeing that a changing climate, acidifying oceans and an impending collapse in the planet’s biodiversity threaten our generation’s future,
Acknowledging the complicity of the college in the rise in carbon emissions, with upwards of $50 million of the endowment continuing to fund the operations of fossil fuel companies,
Considering that full divestment from fossil fuels will establish Carleton as a leader in responsible climate policy among its peer institutions,
Recognizing that the recent lack of communication and transparency between the Board of Trustees and the community serves as a detriment to all areas of the college,
Seeing as the notion that students cannot meaningfully contribute to a technical proposal on divestment is not only dismissive of our intelligence but a fundamental betrayal of the College’s duty to uplift and empower students,
Affirming that the endowment ultimately exists for the betterment of the college, the wellbeing of its students and the fulfillment of Carleton’s mission of “service to humanity.”
We, the students of Divest Carleton, demand:
- A vote on immediate and total divestment of the college’s endowment from the fossil fuel industry and military-industrial complex, NOT a plan which supports delayed or partial divestment.
- A binding commitment to permanently bar the college’s endowment from investing in private prisons,
- Free and full transparency from the Board of Trustees regarding its upcoming vote on divestment, specifically including the release of a complete draft to the student body and the wider Carleton community at least two weeks prior to a vote.
- The direct involvement of student, staff and faculty representatives on the group charged with drafting a proposal for the college’s divestment plan, with access to all meetings and materials, the ability to provide direct input during group meetings and approval over the final proposal submitted to the Board.
- The hosting of an open forum with Board members, open to all students, faculty and staff to solicit input regarding the college’s divestment plan, prior to any vote.
- The broader involvement of student, faculty and staff voices in Board decisions, including permanent student, faculty and staff presence and voting power at Board meetings.
- A commitment from the Board and from the college to think critically, responsibly and ethically about the future of its students and our planet.
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