Editor’s Note: This letter is a response from President Dan Weiss to an open letter from Haverfordians For a Livable Future, published on October 26.
Dear Haverfordians for a Livable Future:
I read with interest and concern your recent open letter about divesting the College’s endowment from fossil fuel companies. As evidenced by the continuing nationwide debate, this and other practices that address the social impacts of investing are the subject of great interest, and rightly so. Please know that this issue remains of vital interest to the Board of Managers and the administration.
Your letter raises serious allegations about the behaviors and integrity of members of the administration and Board. Since you did not sign your letter, this public response represents my interest in engaging members of your group in dialogue.
When the Board decided in February not to divest from fossil fuel companies, I believe that was an appropriate decision that took into account all the information we had at our disposal and all the community dialogue to date on the topic. If you believe there is additional data that should now be weighed, I look forward to knowing what they are so that we might determine the best course forward for us as an institution and as a community. The Board is more than willing to discuss new ideas, and please know that on any issues of community concern, my door is always open.
Your assertion that the approach the Board and my colleagues pursued was deliberately misleading is an allegation I take seriously. I am disheartened by this charge after what had been, in my view, months of good faith dialogue and total transparency among many community members with an interest in this issue. I appreciate that those discussions included varying opinions about divestment and its viability, and they led to an outcome with which you disagreed. For us to proceed further with these conversations, we must do so with mutual respect and, ideally, trust.
My goal is and always has been to get all the information we can and to work together through our commonalities and differences in order to make good decisions that allow us to move forward as a community. Finding solutions in light of our various interests and priorities requires from each of us trust, concern, and respect, and I pledge to you mine.
I am glad to know of the open meeting you are hosting on October 30 and plan to attend so we may engage each other in an open and constructive exchange of ideas.