Trustees Choose Not To Vote On Divestment


310096_10201165408597782_1738763098_n             All these pics of the weekend’s pro-divestment demonstrations are from Adrian Leong ’16.
check out more photos here

(boo hoo people that got woken up early this weekend…”activism” on campus is soo tame. if you’re pissed that you lost an hour of sleep to some clanging pots and pans, you probably didn’t support divestment in the first place.)

This past weekend, the Middlebury College Board of Trustees chose not to vote on the divestment of the 4.2% of our endowment (over over $36 million) invested in fossil fuels and arms manufacturing. Despite the panels, endorsements, and demonstrations, the Board decided to “put it off” until next year. Or until the year after that. Or until never.

Here is are some thoughts from one pro-divestment demonstrator:

“They told student organizers that we have to be patient, that we have to wait. Millions of people suffering the destruction of their communities at the hands of fossil fuel industry and arms manufacturers do not have the luxury of waiting any longer.”

The no-vote didn’t seem to enter the campus gossip mill this week amidst the stress of finals and the even greater stress of senior crush lists.

Has the issue of divestment exhausted itself among students on campus? A sizable group of students cared enough to gather outside of Old Chapel for Friday’s Divestment Darty, and a smaller (but noisier) group of students chanted outside of Old Chapel during the Trustees’ 9-11:30AM meeting on Saturday. But the diehards aside, do people still care about divestment? Faculty, staff, and alumni seem to. Will more of the same types of action work, or does a new strategy need to be found for those who are trying to the fight fossil fuel and weapons industries? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

More pics after the jump:935443_10201167002317624_905412028_n


7 thoughts on “Trustees Choose Not To Vote On Divestment

  1. Did someone really write “divest from capitalism” on the stairs? Is it even worth trying to unpack that irony?

  2. I think there needs to be a student who can sit in on the board of trustees meetings. I don’t believe that the board of trustees are “walking away from their responsibilities” and I don’t believe they are driven solely by money. From my understanding when the board of trustees are in their meetings discussing divestment, they are discussing the logistics of how it can happen and what would happen. Would money be lost? If yes, what would need to be cut out. Do we pull out from the current investing firm? If yes then what would be our next move? To divest in fossil fuels and arms is not a click of a button and will take some time for those in charge to figure out a way to achieve it. Having a student in the board of trustees meetings would ensure that those discussions are happening.

    The call to divest is being led by Bill Mckibben an honored member of our community whose fighting for a just cause. I believe the students, faculty, and board of trustees honor that cause and as a community embrace nature. We need to have an impact but yes, we do need to be patient. If you yell “DIVEST NOW” it makes it clear that you want to divest now but this will be a process and not happen immediately. We need to keep our passion for taking better care of our world strong and we need to be persistent and strategic.

    Good luck humans, planet earth, and middlebury.

  3. “(boo hoo people that got woken up early this weekend…”activism” on campus is soo tame. if you’re pissed that you lost an hour of sleep to some clanging pots and pans, you probably didn’t support divestment in the first place.)” really middbeat?? that is one of the most inconsiderate things I’ve read on this website

    1. Okay, that caption is a little snarky. But given all the ways people are disrespectfully woken up on this campus on weekends, it seems a little ridiculous that people are complaining about students getting up early to stand up for a cause they believe in because the meeting they were demonstrating around happened to be held relatively early.

      In my opinion, while it’s true things don’t change with the push of a button, it’s so important for there still to exist impatience and idealism around these moral issues in order to to keep challenging the dominant narratives constructed around these issues and to keep the pressure on those who do have the ultimate power to make the change. While the trustees and CEOs and politicians of the world do ultimately need to be pragmatic and deliberate in making decisions like these, without the activists present too outside their windows, nothing much would ever meaningfully change. And I always learned college campuses should be the bases for such impatience and idealism and activism, that it should be us standing up for and helping empower the counter narratives.

      So it makes me sad to see a campus where so many students would rather criticize and complain about people standing up for and acting on their beliefs instead of doing it themselves, or at least respecting those who are (however imperfectly) doing so. I believe climate change is the moral issue of our generation, and I think it would be a huge shame if the divestment movement fizzled out on our campus, especially if something didn’t emerge to replace it.

      1. I agree that it’s a little ridiculous for this kid to complain about being woken up. But at the same time, I think this is a good example of how some of the methods being used are not working for the reality of the situation. Waking people up by banging on pots and pans is just going to further alienate people from the movement for divestment, and it might be related to why there was a disappointingly low turnout at the protest. (I didn’t go, but that’s what I heard about it)
        Similarly, I don’t think that methods like yelling the trustees’ names at them will win them over. I think that divestment is a good cause to be fighting for, but if you’re trying to reach the trustees and the rest of the students at this school, this doesn’t seem like the best way to do it.

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