Anti-Fossil Fuel Students At Swarthmore Are Rampaging Against School Administrators

protestSwarthmore College’s anti-fossil fuel crowd demanded recently that three supposedly pro-oil trustees on the school’s board “recuse themselves from all future votes on divestment,” marking another twist in the war of words between the university and its activist student body.

Swarthmore Mountain Justice, the school’s divestment activists, argued in an editorial for the school’s newspaper, The Phoenix, “that the fossil fuel industry and investments in that industry have no place in a just and sustainable future.”

The group went on to state that February’s “record-setting global temperatures exceeded pre-industrial levels by 1.5 degrees Celsius for the first time,” should be taken seriously by the school’s administrators. “We cannot let the personal financial interests of board members continue to block meaningful action on the most important global issue of our generation.”

The group’s demands stem from an editorial its members wrote on Feb. 25 highlighting what they say is a handful of Swarthmore trustees supposedly deeply embedded in fossil fuel concerns.

Board member Harold Kalkstein founded an energy company campaigning for Arctic drilling and ending the oil export ban, according to a report the group made in January. Rhonda Cohen, the vice chair of the Board of Managers, manages a trust with $1 billion in fossil fuels; and Emeritus Samuel Hayes II, another board member, served two decades on the boards of several mutual funds holding ExxonMobil assets.

Mountain Justice claims these actions constitute a conflict of interest for a board that will likely be forced to consider future divestment issues.

President Valerie Smith, as well as Tom Spock, the board’s vice chair, responded with an editorial in the same newspaper, saying the links between a few individuals on the 37-member board and the fossil fuel industry do not represent a conflict of interest. They added that the links were tenuous.

They also reiterated their desire to fight the specter of so-called man-global warming, while at the same time making a profit from it’s fossil fuel investments that will benefit students. They chalked up the group’s assertions as merely “spurious” set of “distortions” and personal attacks.

Mountain Justice was formed in 2010 with the hopes of forcing Swarthmore to purge all ties to the oil industry. The campaign hit a snag in May 2015, when the school refused to sell off its oil and coal assets.

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Comments (5)

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    Way to go Swarthmore!

    Time to live the dream, and reject [b][u]all[/u][/b] incoming campus power generated by fossil fuel sources and any raw materials and food produced using the same. Outlaw any vehicle on campus with combustion sourced power and re-post the Ride Share board for wind or solar vehicles only.

    You guys are brilliant! (and compassionate)
    Rock on!

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    Mountain [b]Justice[/b] was formed in 2010 with the hopes of forcing Swarthmore to purge all ties to the oil industry. The campaign hit a snag in May 2015, when the school refused to sell off its oil and coal assets.
    BTW, “justice” is just one of the latest otherwise-good-words co-opted by leftist activists to imply blanket legitimacy for whatever cause they may wish. When we now hear the word “justice”, especially when accompanied by the word “social”, we must immediately substitute the words “socialism” or “socialist” to appreciate the true intent.

    Many Christian churches have fallen for this ploy to infuse leftist political activism into their mission statements as the mere words “social justice” sound beautiful to the less informed, while disguising their true political intent. Just as there are no more self-professed “liberal” politicians (only “progressives”), socialism has a new, more cuddly, moniker… “the social justice movement”, and climate change is their tool of choice.

  • Avatar

    A.D. Everard


    These students should vote in their own windmill and run with just that for a while. It might teach them something (but I’m sure they’ll blame somebody for the inevitable blackouts). Perhaps their “teachers” will help them raise the money, maybe put their hand in their own pocket to contribute. Oh wait…

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    Let’s see a students pledge ” I solemnly swear
    from this day forward to stop using anything made from or heated by fossil fuel . ”

    Let’s see how many seconds they can keep that pledge .

    How about doing something real like saving the whales ?

    Lets hope the people investing school funds
    didn’t invest in solar panel flame outs like Solyndra or Sun Edison .

    These students are expressing their democratic rights and doing something they firmly believe in . That is very
    encouraging .

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    People like these students are known to the wind and solar companies as “usefull idiots”

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