To the members of the Smith College Board of Trustees:
As we are sure you are aware, Middlebury College announced their commitment on January 29, 2019 to divest from fossil fuels while remaining a client of Investure LLC. It is clear that the Middlebury Board of Trustees, Divest Middlebury, the student body, and Investure have concluded that divestment is an effective way to combat the injustices of climate change at their source: the fossil fuel industry. Middlebury’s laudable choice to move forward with fossil fuel divestment, despite their 2013 decision against it, gives us hope that this kind of sustainable investing and institutional responsibility is possible at Smith College.
In order to fully realize our commitment to carbon neutrality by 2030, we cannot continue to profit from the unethical fossil fuel industry, because by extension it renders our institution complicit. This industry is unsustainable, in both a climate and a financial sense, and full fossil fuel divestment is a necessary retroactive move to align our finances with our institutional morals. Middlebury has found a way to strike a balance between their values and their fiduciary responsibility, and committed to fighting climate change beyond just their campus.
As outlined in our mission statement, Smith College is “a college of and for the world,” but our investments currently do not reflect that global consciousness. The impacts of climate change are felt far beyond our campus, by communities who are consistently refused deserved help and the equity our institution so prizes. As the two-year implementation of the ACIR’s 2017 recommendations comes to a close in October, we are sure the board will consider these developments in future decisions surrounding fossil fuel divestment and sustainability at Smith. Our peer, Middlebury, has set an institutional standard for action on climate change that explicitly utilizes divestment. We urge Smith College to follow their example. It is us, and the generations of young people after us, who will feel the consequences of continued inaction on climate change.
Divest Smith College
We found the following resources useful and educational; we hope you do as well.
The links below provide insight into Middlebury’s decision against divestment in 2013, and their more recent decision in favor of it:
- Announcement of decision against divestment (2013)
- Middlebury statement on Energy2028 and divestment
- Inside Higher Ed article detailing Middlebury’s thought process since the first decision