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  1. Jane Church permalink
    December 16, 2012 12:50 pm

    Thanks, Ken, for understanding the long-range damage coal companies are doing to our mountains and their beauty, the residents who have resulting toxins in their waters and the wildlife that disappear.
    Keep it up, Ken. You are absolutely right and I and countless Americans are right behind you.

  2. January 3, 2013 9:51 am

    Thank you Ken for this beautiful letter. There is no time to waste and I hope that Swarthmore will be at the forefront of changing the tide away from fossil fuels.
    Elizabeth Lavin Kelley ’87

  3. John McDiarmid permalink
    April 9, 2013 5:48 pm

    Great letter. Congratulations to Swarthmore Mountain Justice. Swarthmore needs to divest now.–John McDiarmid ’68

    • May 7, 2014 11:41 pm

      Thanks to all the students who are pricking our consciences! There are many alumni who feel the same way that Deborah Averill and John McDiarmid do–we want the College to divest from fossil fuel investments!

      If you are an alumn and you feel strongly about this, please contact me at: Please state your year of graduation. I’ll let you know what some of us plan to do to put a little pressure on the College.

      Richard (’65)

  4. Richard Grossman permalink
    April 22, 2013 12:28 am

    I just posted this to the Swarthmore College Bulletin Facebook page:

    At Swarthmore I learned to attempt to change things that I don’t like; that is part of our alma mater’s long Quaker tradition.
    Not only did I learn a lot at Swarthmore, but I met my beloved wife of 46+ years, Gail (Sise). I feel that I owe a lot to our college.
    Recently I learned that Swarthmore has investments in fossil fuel suppliers. Indeed, its huge endowment is apparently not screened for immoral investments such as arms manufacturers and tobacco.
    Although I had the importance of ethical behavior reinforced at Swarthmore (at the cost of 30 work hours!), Gail and I find this sort of investment policy to be unethical.
    Furthermore, investments in fossil fuels is probably unwise from a financial standpoint. As governments realize the harm that burning fossil fuels causes to the environment and to the climate, it is likely that these investments will become less valuable.
    We are just two voices, but I know that there are others out there who share our concerns. I have four suggestions.
    1. Write on this Facebook page how you feel about our College’s investment policy.
    2. Pressure the Swarthmore College Bulletin to carry an article about screening of investments and divestment of investments in fossil fuel developers.
    3. Put pressure on the Board of Managers. Although there are various ways to do this, we plan to write each Board member a letter about these concerns. We also plan to withhold our planned donation to celebrate our 50th reunion until we know that the Board is making progress toward screening its investments and divesting fossil fuel investments.
    4. We are not alone! Learn about and support Swarthmore Mountain Justice ( We older grads can learn from current Swarthmore students!
    Richard Grossman, ’65

    Congratulations for following your consciences and for being activists!

  5. May 4, 2014 12:46 am

    Back in July 2013 I sent a letter to President Chopp and the members of the Board of Managers, letting them know that I will not contribute to the College until a plan is put in place to divest from the fossil fuel industries. The response I received from President Chopp basically said that the College is continuing the holdings in the fossil fuel companies in order to be able to exercise “shareholder activism.” I believe that this is simply an excuse to avoid the complexities that might be involved in finding (e.g. in holdings such as mutual funds) and in replacing these investments with socially responsible ones. As an alum of generational Quaker background, this is especially troubling for me.

    Thanks, students of Mountain Justice, for taking a stand on this issue. There are lots of us out here who are with you.

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