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Statement to Students Participating in the Mountain Justice Sit-in

On behalf of the Board and the College, I want to tell you that we hear you. We are listening to your voices, and to all of the voices of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. We are considering what we hear thoughtfully. We respect your decision to engage in peaceful protest.

As you know, following careful consideration and analysis two years ago, the Board of Managers made a consensus-based decision not to divest. The Board is already planning to continue this discussion at its meeting in May. You have asked to meet with the Board Chair and the Chair of our Investment Committee. However, Gil Kemp is presently doing philanthropic work in Asia. Moreover, even if he or the Investment Chair were here, neither could unilaterally change a Board decision. Following our Quaker tradition and governance procedures, that requires a consensus of the full Board of Managers. So we all need to look forward to the May meeting for the full board to gather and deliberate.

As a College, we all care deeply about issues of climate change and its effect on our futures and that of the planet.  The Board has been addressing climate change at each meeting this academic year, and is prepared to make significant commitments, as demonstrated by its December allocation of $12 million to the carbon neutrality of the BEP.  They will continue to do so in May, addressing specific proposals related to renewables and greater energy efficiencies, green building standards, and a range of investment strategies.

Again, thank you for expressing your points of view peacefully. We can’t be sure that each one of you will be satisfied by our decisions, but I promise you we are listening very carefully.