Coming on the heels of a major panel and discussion about divestment over J-term and significant student support for the movement, seven students, (Nathan Arnosti ’13, Craig Thompson ’13.5, Jeannie Bartlett ’15, Teddy Smyth ’15, Laura Berry ’16, Fernando Sandoval Jimenez ’15, and Kristina Johansson ’14), had the opportunity to present the case for divestment to the Board of Trustees at their February meeting this weekend. I followed up with the students, eager to learn more about their presentation and the Trustee reaction.
Middblog: Who exactly were you presenting the proposal to–the full Trustees group or the Investment Committee?
Arnosti: We presented in front of the full Board of Trustees. Though it was technically an optional meeting, the vast majority were present and the room was packed. Ron Liebowitz, Patrick Norton, and other administrators were there as well.
Middblog: Would you mind giving Middblog a brief summary of the proposal you brought before the Trustees?
Thompson: We began by reviewing the negative externalities created by the fossil fuel and weapons manufacturing industries to demonstrate why we felt divestment would improve the social responsibility of Middlebury’s endowment. Second, we presented an array of studies that rebutted the conventional wisdom that there exists an economically significant cost of divestment. We closed by reminding the Board that becoming the first of our peer institutions to divest is a significant opportunity to affirm Middlebury’s role as a social and environmental leader.