Swarthmore students protest. Vietnam in the 70s. South African apartheid in the 80s. Today, for the environment.
Dear Anne Lowry,
Despite the landslide victory in the referendum earlier this week and the increasing urgency of the climate crisis, the Board and administration have refused to engage with students on divestment. A few hours after the referendum results were announced, President Smith and Board Chair Spock emailed the campus reiterating the Board’s 2015 decision not to divest, citing the College’s investment guidelines adopted after it divested from apartheid South Africa in 1991 that the “Investment Committee manages the endowment to yield the best long term financial results, rather than to pursue other social objectives.”
We are deeply disappointed that the Board refuses to engage with the student body on this important issue. That is why, tomorrow (2/24), students are staging a sit-in to hold the Board accountable and to demand that it take students’ voices seriously.
Will you join us tomorrow in demanding accountability and action from the Board? Attached are detailed instructions for how you can help by calling and emailing the administration while students sit-in on campus.
This is not the first time that students have gotten a “no” from the Board. The anti-apartheid divestment campaign spanned eleven long years: eleven years of being ignored, sidestepped, and rejected by the Board. Despite the Board rejecting divestment four times, students and faculty persisted, taking increasingly escalated action, and in 1989 the Board committed to a plan to divest from apartheid.
Due to student and faculty efforts, the Board stood on the right side of history. Now, as the Trump administration partners with the fossil fuel industry to push disastrous climate policies that threaten millions of people and our futures, we need our Board to take a stand for justice once again. And we are confident that if we stand together as a community, we will win.
Abby Saul ’19 and September Porras ’20