At Reed College on a fateful day in February during a freakishly snowy storm uncharacteristic of Portland, Oregon, a small group of dedicated students presented for the first time to the Board of Trustees on the topic of responsible investments, and specifically of divesting the school's $500 million endowment for fossil fuel industry. The students presented their moral and economic arguments for working towards reducing ways in which the College profits from the ecological destruction of a human-habitable planet. A twenty-minute round-table discussion among the Board members and the students followed.
And it went well
The Board was not just willing to entertain the idea, but started the meeting by saying that they had already decided to review the concrete details of what divesting Reed's endowment would look like. In a follow-up email, the Chairman of the Board, Roger Perlmutter wrote: "I am encouraged to see such passion for the issue of climate change. You should know that the overwhelming scientific evidence for a substantial human contribution to global warming is fully accepted by me and by the entire board." The Board will submit a public letter to the school and the community in regards to their opinions and future actions in the future. We hope it is the near future.
The students are meeting again in April with the Board to encourage swift action and keep the pressure on, in part because the Board's commitment to "look into divesting" does not necessarily translate to real action.