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You all rock and I am proud to go to school with people motivated to move their analysis outside of the classroom. Thank you for pushing the dialogue and motivating the student body to push for real and immediate action on divestment.
Thank you for the discussion and mobilization you have started.
I do not know for how long Middlebury has potentially been investing in arms manufacturing but each day this continues is a defeat for the College community, for every one of us.
As an exchange student, I am only a temporary member of it, but as a student and a citizen, I am shocked at the idea that a university might be financing arms manufacturing, even more so when it promotes the values Middlebury does.
It is time for the members of this community to get involved, demand more transparency, and put an end to all investments of the college’s endowment in war industries.
I commend the authors of the press release for exercising transparency in their own actions of protest (by revealing their identities and intent in writing the letter). Over the past few days, discussion surrounding divestment has largely taken place online or among disparate groups scattered around campus. I am curious to know, has there been any talk of creating a public, face-to-face forum in which members of the student body, staff, administration and larger Middlebury community can continue to confront the issues raised in the press release?
All of you are inspiring people. I look up to you for making known what should be known, for putting this into action. It is unbelievable that Middlebury invests in arms manufacturing, and it hurts me. After seeing the Dalai Lama, I am very motivated to spread his word and stop violence. So please, let me know how I can help in any way.
I am so grateful that a group of students on this campus was willing to take a chance and start this conversation. Upon receiving the fake email, I was at first thrilled and surprised that the College, prompted by the Dalai Lama’s visit, had made such a thoughtful and responsible decision, and had finally chosen to match the values it espouses with appropriate action. While I was disappointed to learn that the press release was not true, I am hopeful that this will prompt the students, faculty, administration, and other interested individuals to have an open, forthright conversation about the issues the press release raised. Thank you!
The authors of this letter have offered us a glimpse of the pride and good conscience the Middlebury community could share if the college actually divested in the arms and fossil fuel trade. It is clear from their openness that their intent was not deception. It was a creative attempt to show us what could be possible and how good it would feel. Their courage offers us hope. If we are courageous too, we could make this vision come true.
you should set up a Twitter account to expand awareness.
I wholeheartedly support all of you and your effective tactics as you pursue your uphill struggle! I get a kick out of the absurd response given by the college – a response not at all in keeping with the Dalai Lama’s ethos.
I was part of a small group of university students back in the mid-90′s that attempted to persuade the so-called “Socially Responsible Investment Committee” (since disbanded but more recently replaced with the Socially Responsible Investment Work Group) of the University of Vermont’s Board of Trustees to invest 1% of their endowment “responsibly.” I’ll never forget being party to committee member (and conservative economist) Art Wolf’s bizarre and dangerous logic. When asked why in the eleventh hour the committee voted against our proposal, Mr. Wolf proclaimed that the school needed to maximize its investment profits in order to fund graduate degree programs that would then produce graduates that would then be able to go out into the world and engage in projects and movements to make the world a better place. In case you missed it, its the equivalent of investing in a company like Lockheed-Martin and then using the proceeds from your investments to feed yourself and perhaps some fellow activists at an anti-war protest! My fellow activist students and I came away stupefied. Until that moment we had been blind to this warped view of the world and had so failed to create any cogent arguments that could have helped convince him (and the other committee members) otherwise.
The endowment at that time exceeded one hundred million dollars (its now valued at over $300 million) and we openly wept at the thought of the damage that that money would continue to do, invested as it was in currency speculation, the military industrial complex, the fossil fuel industry, the industrial agricultural complex and in manufacturing companies that were shipping untold numbers of good paying jobs outside of the United States (to name but a few).
The Trustees bank on the transient nature of students – they’ll play along until people graduate and then they’ll go back to their old ways. The trick is to always make ensure you’ve got underclassmen and alumni waiting in the wings to carry on the fight after you graduate. Middlebury’s endowment is massive and I shudder to think of the damage its doing right now to life on Earth.
Of course this struggle is more than just a college’s endowment. Anybody with a standard 401K or conventional stocks or bonds, etc. is complicit in the destruction that is taking place. Anyone in that category has a responsibility to divest their portfolio accordingly.
Keep up the great work! :)
Thanks for the continued support!
Here are some news stories on our action if you are interested:
Did the meeting with the administration take place yesterday? What came out of it?
I heard about your brilliant shaming hoax calling out Middlebury on its hypocrisy regarding its financial investments. Your actions were truly inspired, and come out of a noble tradition most famously and successfully exemplified by The Yes Men (http://theyesmen.org/). If you haven’t heard about them, I highly recommend their documentaries which demonstrate their antics that utterly shame global corporations.
My only bone to pick with you guys is that you were even a little bit apologetic. You have nothing, absolutely nothing, to apologize for. Middlebury College (and my own employer, The University of Vermont) have a lot of apologizing to do. What you did was to expose a profound truth in a way that demonstrated exactly what Middlebury SHOULD have done in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit.
Brilliant, very inspiring work. Please keep it up, and keep escalating the stakes. The world needs you.
Life and all that is in it
is a gift from the infinite mind;
And the only way that life can go wrong
is by the limited finite mind;
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