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Fossil Fuels: Divest Smith Response

April 17, 2015

Dear Divest Smith College,

Thank you for your April 1 letter to me, and to the presidents of Barnard, Dickinson and Middlebury colleges. As you know, you proposed that we four presidents initiate a collective conversation about fossil fuel divestment. In response to your letter, and as a follow up to a meeting I had today with student representatives Siiri Bigalke ’16J, Sam Goss ’18 and Aly Johnson-Kurts ’18J, I want to share the following next steps.

Presidents Debra Spar, Nancy Roseman, Ronald Liebowitz and I held a conference call on April 13. We discussed how each of our colleges works with Investure, the firm that oversees our investments. We agreed to arrange a meeting with Investure to review current investment strategies and additional investment options; we are working to schedule the meeting in June. We expect that the presidents, along with representative members of each of our respective boards of trustees, will attend.

In addition, there is work we can continue to do here on campus. I have asked Mike Howard, vice president for finance and administration, to update our analyses of how partial or full divestment would affect our endowment returns. This knowledge is essential to understanding the costs and benefits of divestment for our current and future operations, and it will be important to the board of trustees in considering whether or how divestment fits into Smith’s overall investment strategy.

I continue to admire and appreciate your advocacy and leadership. I look forward to continuing the conversation around investment and divestment.


Kathleen McCartney