The Carleton College divestment movement is on fire!

Northfield, MN – Carleton is a liberal arts college of 2,000 students in southern Minnesota.  Its progressive student body has long been active in environmental and social justice is

sues.  Students, led by the “Climate Justice Coalition,” and faculty and alumni of “Divest Carleton” have been organizing for little over a year, with much to show for themselves.

This week a faculty letter urging divestment, signed (as of this writing) by 69 professors, was sent to the President and Board of Trustees. The signers represent about 25% of the Carleton faculty.  Click here to see the letter in its entirety. Here are a few choice quotes:


“We believe it is wrong for Carleton to continue to profit from its investment in fossil fuel companies. Inadvertently supporting such a destructive industry is inconsistent with our core values of sustainability and responsible citizenry.”

 “The dimensions of the current crisis are extraordinary, and merit bold action. We simply cannot take a ‘business as usual’ approach.”

 “Divestment is a singular teaching moment to show that principles should stand before profits.”

 A student petition has gathered over 500 student signatures, and over 300 alumni have signed the alumni petition.  At the end of Fall term, the Carleton Student Association senate voted 23-0 for a resolution encouraging the College to “divest from stocks of the top 200 fossil fuel companies within the next five years.”

Students, staff, alumni, and community members also gave a compelling presentation at a town-hall meeting last term, and to the college’s Responsible Investment Committee this term. The students’ goal is to make divestment the watchword on campus this year, with plans to raise the issue at all possible public venues.

Students are also reaching out to other groups on campus to raise social justice issues, which are intimately related to the issue of climate change. For instance the CJC has urged students to support and attend the Black Lives Matter and anti-racism protests in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as a recent campus wide “dialogue” on racial justice.

Ideas are being circulated for a bold and exciting participation in Global Divestment Day next month. Also, a faculty initiated reading group has been proposed, which would include students and staff studying Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything” during Spring term.

With Board of Trustees meetings scheduled for February and May this year, there is much to do, but the Carleton community is energized and optimistic of what lies ahead on campus this year!

To support the Carleton divestment campaign, “like” the Facebook pages of the Climate Justice Coalition and Divest Carleton.

– Bob Dobrow and Trish Ferrett

Carleton College Faculty Members

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