Class of 2016 protests with “no class gift” call

Members of the Class of 2016 sent an email to their fellow graduates last month, calling on them to protest the Board’s refusal to divest from fossil fuels by withholding contributions to the traditional “class gift.”  The result was the smallest class gift donation in recent memory, and a powerful rebuke to the college from its newly-minted alumni.  Here is the text of their email:

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Dr. David Loy returns his Honorary Degree in protest of the Board’s vote against divestment

Two years ago we posted the text of Dr. Loy’s speech on the occasion of the awarding of his degree.  He spoke eloquently then about the moral obligation to engage in the ecological challenges of  our time, and specifically called upon Carleton College to divest.  The Board has refused.  Here is the text of his letter delivered on Earth Day 2016.

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Divest Carleton Alumni Respond to the Board of Trustees

The alumni of Divest Carleton have sent this open response to the Board of Trustees regarding their vote to reject the recommendation of their responsible investing committee.  (The student response will come at the beginning of Winter Term, and we will post it here then.)

If you are interested in signing on to this response, just indicate that in the comments section.  As we use the response in future outreach, your name will be included.

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First response to the BOT vote:not with my money

Dear alumni supporter of Divest Carleton:
As you know, we have been working for three years to get the Board of Trustees to vote to divest from fossil fuels.  We have circulated petitions, done campus rallies, teach-ins and tabling at alumni events.  We’ve written letters in the Carletonian, and had articles written about us.  And we’ve made progress in moving the issue of divestment from the back burner to a focus of discussion in the Carleton community.
This fall, the Board’s own committee (Carleton Responsible Investment Committee, or CRIC) made a recommendation to the Board that they divest from direct holdings in fossil fuels.  (Read their recommendation here: (Double click on the link and then click on the “Related Documents” box.)
On November 10, the Board of Trustees released their decision to reject CRIC’s recommendation and refuse to divest.  (You can read their response here:
We are not going to let the Board’s refusal be the last word.  We are going to continue to raise awareness of this issue and to take action toward it.  Look for lots of new, and more insistent, actions in the coming months.
You can help!
Right now, you are probably getting solicitations to contribute to the Annual Fund.  We are asking that you decline to contribute.  And not just that you decline, but that you send a note in that return envelope, saying why you decline.  It is important that Carleton know that they lose not only money on the bad investment in fossil fuels, but also the contributions of concerned alumni.  Please find that letter, and that envelope, and vote against the Board’s decision with your wallet.
If you want to do more, you can direct your donation to the Carleton College Fossil Free Fund instead.  (You can find a link to information about the fund and the online donation portal here:  We value donations of any size, because numbers of donors is as important as amounts of donations.  We need to let the College know that there is money available to them, just waiting for a different decision, and that many, many alumni care about this.
We cannot let this drop.  The future depends on us keeping as much fossil fuel in the ground as possible, and on changing the culture of acceptance of dirty fuels.  We’ll be working on it; we look forward to your help. If you have questions or comments, or would like to do more to help, email

The long-awaited CRIC Report on Divestment to the Board of Trustees is here

The Carleton Responsible Investment Committee (CRIC) has finally issued its report to the Board of Trustees.  It comes out clearly in favor of divestment of all of Carleton’s direct holdings in fossil fuel companies, and is important reading.  No word yet on whether the BOT will take up the recommendations in the report at their October 22-24 meeting, but you can be sure we will be watching, and keeping you up to date.


A Letter to Pope Francis, on the occasion of his visit to the United States

Divest Carleton was honored to be asked to sign on to this letter to His Holiness, Pope Francis.

Most Holy Father,

We write to you as young people, as constituents of Jesuit institutions, other Catholic, Christian, and religious institutions, and non-religious institutions as people of goodwill, on behalf of an entire generation. We are standing on the precipice of climate catastrophe. Since the release of your encyclical “Laudato Si” in June, we have been inspired by your call for climate justice and the awakening of the Catholic and global community to the systemic causes of the climate crisis.

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Beginning of the Ende

All across the world, people are taking divestment action as and where they can. Here’s a great blog about the recent action in Germany, Ende Gelande. (Here, and no further.)

Mountains, pictures, action.

“I’m so glad to see people drawing a firm line in the coalfields, and stopping the planet’s largest coal-digging machines. We’re driven not by ideology but by physics: there’s simply no way to burn all this lignite and keep the climate intact. These protesters are lifeguards for an endangered planet.”

Bill McKibben,

Photo: Tobias Mandt Photo: Tobias Mandt

I’m running and I’m running and I’m just one, just one amongst hundreds of people running to escape the batons and the pepper spray, running to break through the police line and run on and on across the field to the mine. But as we’re running and my legs are pumping and the adrenaline’s thumping I turn and see something that makes my blood turn cold and time stand still. I see a man made massive with body armour and a helmet and a baton, and I see him throw his shoulder back and form…

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Divest Carleton member writes to the Sierra Club

(This letter was sent by one of Divest Carleton’s founding members to the Sierra Club regarding their recent ranking of ‘green colleges.’ )

To the editor:
As a long time Sierra Club activist, I am appalled that your magazine would again rank “green” colleges without reference to their record on fossil fuel divestment. We now know that to avoid catastrophic climate change, the majority of carbon reserves already on the books will have to be left in the ground. But the fossil fuel companies continue with basic business plans that ignore this reality and seek to burn it all, find more, and then burn that. To protect those plans they “invest” millions in candidate support and lobbying to prevent significant political action.
It is not “cool,” but flat our wrong for colleges to continue to profit from these companies, essentially creating a vested interest in their success. There may have been a time when the “on-campus” indicators were a useful way to identify green colleges. That time is now gone. By publishing these rankings the Club gives opponents of divestment ammunition which they can use to argue about what is really “cool” and “green.”
On-campus actions are laudable and necessary, but more is needed to address climate change.Think of it this way. If every college in the top 100 meets its most ambitions “on-campus” greenhouse gas reduction goals, it will not make even a ripple in total emissions. But if all 100 divested their fossil fuel holdings, it would significantly change the moral and political climate surrounding fossil fuels, and could well spark a grass roots movement powerful enough to seriously address the dire threats that we face.
My hope is that you will write a correction or retraction or, perhaps publish a new list which recognizes divestment as a crucial indicator. In any case, please, in next year’s rankings, make up the green list based on divestment support and relegate on-campus greening to side articles which identify some of the more creative actions, as was done with divestment in this issue.
Brett A. Smith