Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Letter to the Editor: Regarding post-divestment

Dear Editor, 

We are excited to celebrate the divestment of Carleton’s endowment from direct fossil fuel investments and fossil fuel-oriented mutual funds. This decision is thanks to the hard work of many students, alumni, faculty and staff over the past eight years. 

Divest Carleton is both elated and left with a sour taste in our mouths. Our in-depth proposal, which we sent to the board last winter and spring, asked for full divestment of not only our fossil fuel holdings but also our holdings in the military industrial complex and a hard commitment to never invest in the private prison industry. Those demands were added after the Ujamaa Collective demanded the same in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. The college blatantly ignored military divestment, failing to even include it in the conversation, despite our continual raising of the issue.  

 In terms of fossil fuel divestment, student and community activism — including the occupation of the Weitz in the fall —led to a plan that is both faster and more thorough than expected. This is wonderful news that improves Carleton’s standing in sustainability and climate justice amongst our peers and reminds us that protest and advocacy works.

To the Board of Trustees: this is a decision which will fundamentally improve Carleton as an institution for years to come. Your actions have reversed years of inaction, delay and naysaying — putting Carleton on the right track. You have righted a major wrong, and that deserves the highest commendation. However, your work is not done.. Carleton’s students, faculty and staff are passionate about our community and deserve a seat at the table in leading it. At multiple points in this process, no transparency or control were given to the parties asking for this change. This campaign wouldn’t have lasted eight years and would not have led to an occupation of the Weitz art building nor the myriad of other harassment if students had decision-making power on the Board. We deserve a say in our future and our education. Give us, along with faculty and staff, transparency and voting membership. We care just as deeply as you do about this place and we, too, want to see it survive perpetually. The college would immediately cease to exist if any of these groups disappeared. We live, work, learn and play here. Divestment is one step to a better Carleton, but more change needs to happen.

To the faculty, thank you for your guidance, support and advice. We both do better when we work together, and we hope to work with you in whatever Divest Carleton does going forward.

To the alumni, your support from across the country has been similarly invaluable. Your work on- and off-campus had a major impact on this victory. Please don’t stop being active and involved on- and off-campus. Working for a better and more just world isn’t  the job of any one generation. Your voice and work can and do have an important impact. 

To all Carleton students, thank you. Fossil fuel divestment also couldn’t have happened without your honest conversations, petition signatures and protest participation. We hope that this inspires you to continue taking social action and building the better world you deserve. Divestment is important, but does not improve life for students of color on campus, nor does it increase the pay of dining hall workers, ensure fair treatment of students who need mental health treatment and leaves of absence, nor does it guarantee good and fair working conditions for staff and faculty. Divestment is aligned with all of these goals and works to build a just transition away from extractive industries toward regenerative ones.

There is a great deal of change that needs to happen on campus, and the students who contributed to this victory can be a part of that change too:

1. Donate to Mutual Aid (Venmo @Carleton-MutualAid). As of 02/16, Mutual Aid has $2,832 in requests and less than $100 in the Venmo account) or come to our meetings and get involved (Wednesdays at 7:30p.m. in Sayles 252). 

2. Get involved with Sunrise Carleton, which is starting to re-open its doors (meeting times TBA, email [email protected] and [email protected] for info). 

3. You can get involved with cultural organizations on campus that regularly hold bake sales and donate to international NGOs, or get involved with volunteer work for any CCCE project.

4. Start your own campaign for the change that students deserve on campus. Students and alumni of WHOA, Divest, Sunrise, Ujamaa, CarlsTalkBack and Mutual Aid are all excellent resources to think through the change you want to see in the world and how that change can happen. 

 5. Come to Wellstone House social justice programming and get support for your goals on and off campus. Reach out to [email protected] to be involved.

Make no mistake, this campaign has proven that change-making can and does happen through student activism, organizing and protest.

Divestment is a beautiful start, but we’re not done. Another world is possible.

In love and solidarity,

Divest Carleton

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *