Dear President Smith and Swarthmore Community;
As an alumna of the Class of ’77 who even got married in the Amphitheatre, I am used to feeling proud when I see a mention of Swarthmore in the news. Often it is an article mentioning the wonderful work of someone who credits some of their inspiration and values to their time at the College. Other times it is an article about a new bold initiative taken at the College or some program that is ahead of the curve that reflects Swarthmore’ deep Quaker roots and moral standing.
Even today, the College’s website prominently displays this sentence: “Since its founding in 1864 by the Religious Society of Friends (aka Quakers), Swarthmore College has given students the knowledge, insight, skills, and experience to become leaders for the common good.“
Instead I am deeply embarrassed and frankly horrified to read in the following New York Times article that Swarthmore College has yet to divest from fossil fuels. It is profoundly incredible that the College refuses to act, despite nurturing the very people who began this effort to address the greatest threat to the “common good” our species has ever faced.
Swarthmore has truly lost its way and after decades of annual contributions to support the College I have refused to contribute for some years now. I doubt that this letter will do any good if nearly a decade of intense and comprehensive communication has not moved the College to walk in the Light. However, I write simply to stand up and bear witness to the truth that the College is encouraging the destruction of the world that is already causing and will continue to cause untold suffering.
You should listen. You should act.
Irisita Azary, Ph.D
Class of 1977