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Divestment advocates to meet with trustees

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 00:01

divest

Courtesy Dan Jubelirer

Tufts Divest For Our Future will meet with the Board of Trustees this Thursday morning to present a plan for the school to divest from fossil fuels.

Tufts Divest For Our Future will present a plan for Tufts to divest from fossil fuels at the Board of Trustees meeting this Thursday.

According to Tufts Divest Co−Founder Anna Lello−Smith, members of Tufts Divest will deliver a ‘moral’ argument to the Board. If the world continues to use fossil fuels in the ways that it has, she said, mankind will not be able to live in this world.

“It is so urgent,” Lello−Smith, a junior, said. “We have already seen examples of it through Hurricane Sandy, the alarming worldwide temperatures, the drought this past summer, and that is going to continue to worsen if we do nothing.”

Tufts Divest has seen mixed results in its previous efforts with the administration, Emily Edgerly, a co−founder of the group, said.

“They are sending two messages,” Edgerly, a sophomore, said. “Outwardly, the administration has been very cooperative and supportive to us.” However, she said, a Tufts alumnus who has been in contact with the Board on the group’s behalf has been striking a different tone. “I think they trust her more because she has more experience, but they have been telling her that they don’t think it is going to happen because they don’t think it is economically feasible,” Edgerly.

The organization is not discouraged by what it calls ‘mixed signals,’ according to Tufts Divest Co−Founder Dan Jubelirer.

“They have listened to us, but we aren’t going to stop, and we aren’t going to rest until they have divested from fossil fuels,” Jubelirer, a sophomore, said. “This meeting is a test for how seriously they take us.”

Edgerly said that because Tufts has participated in past divestment movements—like a 1980s campaign against the companies present in the South African apartheid regime, there is still hope that the university will respond positively to Tufts Divest’s actions. “It has happened before and it is definitely feasible,” she said.

Tufts Divest began its campaign this school year with a letter to University President Anthony Monaco that led to meetings with Executive Vice President Patricia Campbell, Lello−Smith said.

“She asked us if we could submit an actual proposal that discussed the divestment campaign strategy,” she explained. “We submitted a 15−page proposal before winter break that we sent to President Monaco, Vice President Campbell and the Board of Trustees.”

Monaco remained in touch with Tufts Divest via email and invited the group to the Board’s meeting this Thursday, Lello−Smith said.

Divestment student groups from Maine schools Colby College and College of the Atlantic will also meet with their schools’ trustee boards on Thursday, according to Jubelirer. The two colleges are involved with 350.org, a website that advocates for divestment across the nation.

“We want to work with other schools because divestment only is effective if it happens across the nation,” he said. “If Tufts alone divests, and no one else does, it makes a much smaller statement than if 300 institutions—religious, city, state, government, pension funds—all divest, and that is what we are campaigning towards. We want to show the administration that people care about this issue,” he said.

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