Middlebury College Embraces Divestment in Response to Student Activism

In a strong motion towards divestment, the President of Middlebury College, Ronald D. Leibowitz, has disclosed the percentage of Middlebury College’s endowment that is directly invested in defense contractors, arms manufacturers, and fossil fuel companies. In his letter released to the campus community on Tuesday, December 4, President Liebowitz stated, “As an academic institution, the College administration and the Board of Trustees are interested in engaging our students’ interest in the endowment.”

Liebowitz confirmed that Middlebury currently has at least $6 million and $32 million invested in industries of violence and environmental degradation respectively. Members of the College are working to reduce those numbers to zero, which would put Middlebury at the front of the pack in the growing national student movement calling for ethically invested endowments.

“One dollar invested in death, is one dollar too many,” says Tim Schornak of the Dalai Lama Welcoming Committee (DLWC), an organization of Middlebury students, faculty, parents and alumni working to align Middlebury’s endowment practices with its professed values.

Last October, the DLWC made national headlines for releasing a satirical press release claiming the College had chosen to divest from war in honor of the Dalai Lama’s visit to campus. Their action led the Middlebury College community to embrace the idea that investing in violence and environmental destruction is no joke. Alumni are weighing in with their agreement, pledging not to give a dollar more to the College until it does not go to war. Liebowitz’s remarks indicate that such a day may not be so far off.