Target: John R. Kroger, President of Reed College
Goal: Call on the university to commit to ending 100% of its investments in fossil fuels
Reed College, a private university in Portland, Oregon, promotes itself as a socially and environmentally responsible institution. Students have long pressured the school’s president and board of trustees to dump investments in the fossil fuel industry, and the guest speaker at this year’s graduation announced they had finally decided to do so.
But the commencement speaker was Igor Vamos of the Yes Men, a two-man performance artist and activist group. The Yes Men have made international headlines posing as corporate and political leaders, making fake press releases and giving interviews promising to reform their wicked ways. Vamos falsely assured Reed’s graduating class that the university’s president had committed to completely divesting the endowment’s multi-million dollar fossil fuels holdings. The announcement was met with a standing ovation from students and parents alike.
School officials claim “trustees are in the process of reviewing the students’ requests” to divest in fossil fuels. But ongoing activism and meetings with student group Fossil Free Reed have failed to produce any firm commitment. John R. Kroger, President of Reed College, has attempted to dismiss the prank as harmless fun. Yet it helped to show the world Reed’s hypocrisy in continuing to support run-away climate change and environmental destruction.
Demand that Reed College demonstrate an honest commitment to sustainability and end all investments in the fossil fuel industry.
Dear Mr. Kroger,
Following this year’s now-infamous commencement speech by performance artist and activist Igor Vamos, you claimed in an official statement to “appreciate the robust and far-ranging debate that this prank will continue to spur.” But many students continue to doubt your sincere willingness to listen to both sides of the debate. Many feel instead that the board of trustees fully intends to continue its investments in fossil fuels despite ongoing appeals from students to abandon them.
A recent press release insists that “Reed College takes seriously the threats presented by climate change.” Such a commitment can only be seen as lip-service when tens of millions of dollars from the school’s endowment are invested in the very fossil fuels proven to drive climate change and other environmental concerns.
I write to add my voice to those of the students, faculty and families at Reed calling on the school to completely divest from fossil fuels. To do any less directly calls into question your commitment to the environment, to sustainability, and to the very students whose interests you are sworn to protect.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: SMU Central University Libraries via Flickr