Dunning Divestment

On the occasion of my 50th reunion at Reed, I had planned to give a larger-than-usual gift to the college. Because of the trustees’ decision not to divest from fossil fuels, I am sending a check for $2 to Reed as a reminder of my loyal status as a contributor, and I am sending the balance to the Multi-School Fossil Fuel Divestment Fund (divestfund.org) in hopes that it will help persuade Reed of the seriousness with which some of its loyal alumni view this matter.

I am very disappointed not only in the decision not to divest but also in the mealy-mouthed defense of that position, as described in a recent Reed magazine. The pressure on the leadership of Reed College to divest from fossil fuel corporations does not present the same kind of question of academic freedom as the persecution of real or alleged Communists in the ’50s. I can tell the difference between the vilification and persecution of an individual for his or her political beliefs and a principled stand based on extensive scientific analysis. On the one hand, the action is taken by the powerful against individuals expressing their beliefs. On the other, it is against the powerful fossil fuel corporations that have been enriching themselves for centuries through the raping and polluting of the land, air, and water of this earth on which we all rely for our well-being and that of all future generations of the living environment.

—Cynthia Brodine Snow ’65

Brookline, Massachusetts

Editor's Note: Every time I write about divestment, I hear the distant echo of of a fresh batch of outraged correspondents sharpening their pencils. Nonetheless, I’ll point out that Reed launched a $5.4 million project in 2013 to save energy and water and cut CO2 emissions by more than two million pounds a year.