community at the Swarthmore All-Community Performance of the Mozart
Requium, 2005. The College awarded John Alston (btm cntr) an
honorary degree in 2015.
RESOURCES for UNDERSTANDING
DIVESTMENT PROBLEMS at SWARTHMORE COLLEGE
Jerry Nelson '65
with thanks to alumni & student friends
MANY ALUMNI DO NOT REALIZE
that an intense
campaign for divestment of fossil fuel investments has been raging at
the College for five years, and spilling out into national newspapers (Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Times, Manchester Guardian here and here). They don't realize because the College tightly controls emailing lists and news.
The author of this page, Jerry Nelson '65, not speaking officially for campus activist groups like Swarthmore Mountain Justice, urges you to sign up! They want your input, and you're not going to hear much without theirs.
RESOURCE 1. Sign up.
Enter the email pool, join us at http://swatmj.org/petition/
You will be
signing a petition to the Board (needed, helpful, do it), but, in my
opinion, don't feel you have to commit to any other action if you just
want to get on top of the situation first.
RESOURCE 2. Two Plans for college donations:
Vote with your donation, use one of these two climate-sensitive plans.
- The Escrow Fund for Divestment initiated by the students and
- The President's Climate Commitment Fund initiated by two older alumni
the College financially, more generously than ever, but make your money
a vote for change by putting your donation into only one or both of
these two funds. In both cases, the College will get all your
money. The Escrowed Funds flow to the endowment if the College divests, otherwise funds go to the Eugene Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility for more climate activism. The President's Climate Commitment Fund is spent down immediately for a greener campus and greater climate awareness.
RESOURCE 3, document: "We Divest for Social Ostracism and Public Humiliation"
we sell, someone else will buy." Many think divestment is
all about stock price and shareholder proxy votes. No.
Divestment is a moral statement and a political action. Why does
the College take an immoral position that adds to the evil in the
world? This author thinks structural problems have gradually
arisen in College governance. Two hard-to-fix problems for the price of one?
RESOURCE 4, document: "Why We Can Never Divest Again. The Backlash Against South African Divestment"
divested from South African to stop Apartheid only after 12 years of
pressure, and with enough ill will to pass a resolution a year later
barring the Board of Managers from ever again divesting for
socio-political reasons. The need to overturn this resolution
unites the divestment campaign of 1978-1990 with the fossil fuel
divestment movement today.
RESOURCE 5, document "Fossil Fuel Divestment FAQ"
position of student and alumni activists for divestment, answering
objections often heard from others. The Escrow Fund for
Divestment pressures the College to divest (the President's Climate
Commitment Fund does not), and here is why the people who created The
Escrow Fund think you should contribute to (through) it. This FAQ
was a campus-wide handout on Alumni Weekend 2015.
RESOURCE 6, document "How Swarthmore Chose Excellence. A Brief Sketch of the 1800s."
At the start of
the 1900s, the President pressured the Board to choose academic
excellence . . . and pay for it! Today, it is the Board that
pressures the President, who has become fundraiser-in-chief.
jerry-va atremovethistext speakeasy net