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THE MONITOR

  • Hamiltonians for Divestment

Hamiltonians for Divestment Demand of Trustees: Disclose, Divest, Democracy

To the Trustees of Hamilton College:


Hamilton College's Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees manages $1.4 billion, the 61st-largest endowment among private US colleges and the 12th-largest among US liberal arts colleges. This committee is ultimately unaccountable to the student body and to the faculty.


The Investment Committee claims to reaffirm the College's commitment to "active citizenship" and to consider "environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues as part of its investment process." However, the Investment Committee only considers ESG insofar as they "[improve] the long term financial returns of the Endowment." This committee also admits to investing "less than 2 percent" of the 2023 endowment in "direct exposure to fossil fuels." Hamilton College claims that "fossil fuel investments have not played a significant role for the endowment in many years." And yet, the so-called 'insignificant' fossil fuel investment of 2% or less is as massive as $28,000,000. Hamiltonians for Divestment remembers the 1986 protests for divestment from South Africa apartheid; the college has historically invested in unethical institutions.


We, Hamiltonians for Divestment, investigated the endowment's investments – to no avail. Frustrated by such secrecy, we do not trust the Investment Committee's stewardship of the endowment or its ability to make investment decisions with students' interests and futures prioritized. We hold the Investment Committee accountable for its investments, and we believe that the only method to ensure Hamilton College engages in democratic and socially responsible investment is to make the endowment subject to public examination. We condemn Hamilton College and the Investment Committee for systematically suppressing information about the endowment.


Hamiltonians for Divestment demand:


1. Disclosure of all of Hamilton College's endowment investments. This disclosure must be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.


2. Continued endowment investment transparency after initial disclosure.


3. A democratically elected student body to review the ethics of the endowment.


We expect a public plan to disclose and divest by the beginning of the fall semester. 


Signed,


Hamiltonians for Divestment

Students for Justice in Palestine

Black & Latine Student Union

Climate Justice Coalition

Feminists of Color Collective

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