Our Campaign Story
Our divestment campaign at Bates began in September 2012 at the onset of the national movement spearheaded by 350.org, Sierra Student Coalition, and the Responsible Endowment Coalition. To kick-off the campaign we hosted a very successful “Launch Party” in Chase Hall which generated a fair amount of on-campus buzz. In early October we met with the Chairman of the Trustee Investment Committee over breakfast in Commons and presented to him our proposal to divest the Bates endowment from all fossil fuel companies. We were met with praise for our efforts and interest on the part of the Chairman plus an agreement to bring us (BEAM) to the next Board meeting later that year in May. We held an on-campus rally during President Spencer’s inauguration weekend and engaged our idea with many alumni, Trustees, and faculty.
After another semester of actions and building support, we had our first meeting the Board of Trustees in May in which we presented to them our divestment proposal. We were met with much resistance; While they applauded our efforts and even admitted we had the ‘moral high ground’ to divest, the Board said firmly that Bates would “never be a leader in this movement.” We feel this is unacceptable and that it is time to up the stakes for the Board so we are taken more seriously.
Our goals to start this year are to engage various bodies of the Bates community. We wish to reach out to alumni, faculty, students, and parents to support out proposal. An alumni petition was created which is a pledge to withhold donation to Bates until they commit to divestment from fossil fuels. We additionally hope to reach out to faculty who study climate change, energy economics, and social justice for their opinions.