Mountain Justice Encounters an Intransigent Board

Students rally in the amphitheater as part of the Power Up! Divestment ConvergencePhoto by Elèna Ruyter '14
Students rally in the amphitheater as part of the Power Up! Divestment Convergence
Photo by Elèna Ruyter '14

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.

Allison Hrabar

Allison is double major in Political Science (Honors) and Film and Media Studies. When not working for The Daily Gazette, she cajoles people into watching the The Americans (Wednesdays at 10:00p.m. on FX).


  1. I am very disappointed that the recent meeting described above did not move the dial forward on divestment/fossil-free investment at Swarthmore.

    Based on my experience at Swarthmore during the civil rights and peace movements, I know that a committed group of people can change the hearts and minds of those in power.

    Those of us who are working for divestment are part of a new movement, one that is every bit as important as the ones in which we participated when I was a student.

    We all need to keep working, in all the ways we know how, to slow down climate change, and divestment is an important part of that mix.

  2. Once again, just because you want something, you don’t necessarily get it. Childishness does you no favors. Also, I don’t believe for one second that those petition signatures are all valid. Your numbers just don’t add up.

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