Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Five members of Mountain Justice met with six members of the Board of Managers last Monday to present their proposal for divestment, which aims for Swarthmore to have a fossil fuel-free endowment by 2020.
Mountain Justice member Stephen O’Hanlon said the group was “deeply disappointed” by the Board’s response at the meeting. “Despite having the mandate from the campus community,” he said, “it was clear they were not planning to seriously engage with our proposal that day.”
O’Hanlon explained that the Board members who possessed the power to move the proposal forward, Investment Chair Christopher M. Niemczewski and Board Chair Gil Kemp ‘72, were not present. In addition to the absence of Board leaders, O’Hanlon said that none of the members of the investment committee present were in favor of the idea.
However, said O’Hanlon, “the pressure that [MJ] is building is working. Some of the board members have been shifting […] the pressure matters.” According to O’Hanlon, board members attributed the college’s recent action on climate, including the $12 million put towards green buildings, to the pressure put on the board by students.
This Friday, February 13, is Global Divestment Day, when thousands of organizations around the world will call on institutions to divest. Mountain Justice will lead a teach-in where students and faculty will talk about the power of student movements in the past, and about Mountain Justice’s plans moving forward. The event will take place in Sci 183, at 5:00pm.