Letter to the Editor

According to the College Governance, the “campus investor responsibility committee [CIRC] recommends to the trustee investor respon­sibility committee [TIRC] votes on social action proxies being considered by shareholders of public companies represented in the college portfolio. It also studies broader investor responsibility issues and makes recommendations to the trustee committee”. The committee’s purpose in the second case is to consider investor responsibility issues, such as divestment, brought to it by the broader campus community. In this capacity CIRC has carefully studied and considered three fossil fuel divestment proposals since 2013, most recently this past fall. In all cases, the committee spent significant time studying the proposals and discussing the reasons for and against divestment from the identified companies, as well as divestment as a political and social statement more generally. We met with members of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign on multiple occasions and supported their meetings with the President and members of TIRC. Ultimately, after careful deliberation, a majority of the committee in each case voted not to support divestment from the companies identified in the propos­als. In no case was the committee unanimous and specific reasons for supporting or opposing divestment were varied, ranging from beliefs about the moral bases for divestment to views on the economics of divestment and endowment management. The committee’s decision is not changed by the student referendum in support of divestment. The committee, as specified in the Governance, includes two students, two faculty members, two administrators and two alumnae/i, with the Chair of the committee serving as a non-voting member except in the case of a tie vote.

As a committee we do not support divestment as an institutional tactic in the movement against global climate change. Yet, all members of CIRC believe that global climate change threatens life on earth and that action which will slow global temperature rise needs to take place swiftly and globally. We encourage, and will join to support, student, faculty, administrator and alumnae/i activities that constructively and effectively further this agenda.

From: The Campus Investor Responsibility Committee

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