This weekend, the Brown Corporation (which functions as the board of directors for the University) met for one of its tri-annual meetings to discuss policy and the state of Brown, including capital projects, acceptance of gifts, Paxson’s strategic plan, and the decision to divest endowment funds from companies that either use or mine coal.
Brown students are wont to skim these sorts of emails—especially when two lengthy ones enter their inboxes simultaneously. Didn’t catch all the details in President Paxson’s emails? We’re here to break down the news from the Corporation meeting.
Brown will not divest from coal. The issue of divestiturefrom coal has been promoted by Brown Divest Coal for several semesters and considered by an ad hoc committee of the University’s Corporation, appointed by Paxson, since May. In a separate email to the University community entitled “On the Matter of Divestment from Coal,” Paxson explains that the Corporation made the decision not to divest from coal in its weekend meeting. In this email, Paxson explains that the Corporation approached the topic through “serious, thoughtful and robust discussion” that “covered the full range of perspectives.” Read more about the specific perspectives covered in the email here. Continue Reading
With our campus recently filled with dialogues of divestment, sexual assault, and same-sex marriage, I can imagine that you are looking for a respite from the demanding life of a university president, a job that requires you to curate a safe, empowering environment for thousands of brilliant students, taking into account our needs and social awareness.
Unfortunately, I cannot give you that respite.
You see, I’ve kept another pressing issue locked up inside me. It started as a joke, then suddenly became real, in a cataclysm of fiery, uncouth emotions: confusion, anger, astonishment. You have left me reeling, Christina.
I speak, of course, of your Batman endorsement.
I can sense a shocked denial approaching. Nay, you are on record. Last winter, during a UCS “Fireside Chat” — Ah! what pleasant names we give the propagation of evil! — you offended a nation.
Brown Divest Coal will be holding their final rally of the school year at 1 p.m. They have been working all year to get the Corporation to actually vote on divesting from the so-called “filthy fifteen” coal companies, but President Paxson recently hinted that such a vote likely would not take place in May. Participants in this rally hope to change that. Brown Divest Coal has held a couple of rallies before, and their year-long efforts have yielded a 3,000-signature petition supporting divestment and endorsements from UCS and billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer.
As it’s their last public event of the year, it’s your last chance to make your presence felt if you support the cause. If you don’t support it, well, go about your day as planned. With few classes still meeting during Reading Period, you can probably expect a big crowd on the Main Green (as of Thursday night, 117 were listed as attending). For more information, check out the rally’s Facebook event or Brown Divest Coal’s web site.
Wondering why every sort of statue in the general vicinity of the Main Green from Bruno the Bear to the creepy, hand-holding statues (a.k.a. “Circle Dance”) on the Waterman Street lawn were covered in party hats and cardboard signs today?
This random act was the latest public demonstration by Brown Divest Coal. To celebrate the fact that the university’s advisory committee has formally recommended that Brown divest from the U.S.’s 15 largest coal companies, members of BDC decorated statues across campus with slogans encouraging members of the corporation to vote yes to divestment at the corporation’s next meeting in May.
BDC may very well have reason to celebrate: to date, the corporation has always taken the advisory committee’s recommendations on divestment. If the corporation follows suit on this issue, whatever guerrilla artistic insanity Brown Divest Coal does to celebrate will probably be worth seeing.
At noon, demonstrators from Brown Divest Coal will be taking their year-long campaign to the Main Green. Just a few days after hosting environmentalist Bill McKibben P’16 on campus, the organization will be taking its message directly to President Paxson as it hopes she will sign on to an effort to, according to the campaign’s Facebook page, “divest the Brown endowment from the 15 most environmentally destructive coal companies,” otherwise known as the “Filthy 15.” Coal “contributes to climate change and causes 13,000 preventable deaths each year,” says Emily Kirkland ’13, Brown Divest Coal’s Director of Media Relations. She expects anywhere from “50 to 75” people to attend the rally, but there may be even more judging by the 126 who are “attending” the rally’s Facebook event.