Letters to the Editor do not reflect the editorial opinion of The Daily Free Press. They are solely the opinion of the author.
Dear President Brown,
Today marks the 14th day we are requesting a meeting with you regarding divestment from fossil fuels, and the 14th you have denied our requests. On Dec. 8, we submitted a petition to you outlining our demand that the issue of divestment be brought back to the Board of Trustees during their Spring 2017 meeting, and on Jan. 24, you rejected our demand. As a university that prides itself on sustainability, we cannot continue to profit from an industry that is actively destroying the planet our generation will inherit from yours.
We are disheartened and disappointed with your refusal to meet with us. As students who commit four years of our lives and tuition dollars to Boston University, we have a significant stake in this institution. Your refusal to meet with us, combined with the Board’s negligent response to the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing’s recommendation to divest from companies continuing to explore for new fossil fuel reserves, shows us that the BU administration has little regard for the opinions of the BU community. When you continue to close doors in our faces, our only available avenue is to raise our voices.
There should be an open dialogue about fossil fuel divestment. According to the university’s mission statement, BU is “committed to educating students to be reflective, resourceful individuals ready to live, adapt, and lead in an interconnected world.” In order to lead in an interconnected world, we must take into account the global communities our local decisions affect — we must be ethical decision makers. Open dialogue about the ethical questions BU regularly faces engages us in them and makes us critically analyze benefits and drawbacks. We learn from actively engaging, not from passively witnessing — and we are more likely to be globally engaged leaders in the future if we know our voices are heard today.
We also deserve to hold BU accountable. Too often, BU’s actions are concealed from an undervalued student body, diminishing the significance of ethical decisions and preventing outcries against unethical ones. Students deserve to know what is happening at our university, particularly on issues like divestment where student voices have been a driving force. When BU fully divests, we want a transparent system of accountability so that the university’s progress in divesting the endowment from pernicious industries can be celebrated by the community and not remain hidden behind closed doors.
DivestBU has a history of engaging students and fighting for change. We have hosted rallies with hundreds of students, disseminated petitions with thousands of signatures and promoted many other initiatives. We do it because we believe in awareness, engagement and ethical citizenship. If Boston University does too, we should be granted a place at the table.
Students of DivestBU