Letter to the Editor: Costs of divesting are minor

To the Editor:

As an enthusiastic supporter of Divest Williams, I was excited to see the Record express support for this important cause, and heartened that the board shares our commitment to advocating bold steps rather than half-measures (“Fuel for thought,” Editorial, Oct. 29, 2014). While I share your desire to see independent analysis of the costs of divesting the College’s endowment, I wanted to clarify that all available evidence suggests that they will be marginal at most. Studies from groups like Aperio Consulting and the Green Century Fund; the history of divestment from tobacco and South Africa under apartheid  and tobacco; and, most of all, the experience of the hundreds of other institutions that have already divested from fossil fuels all indicate that our endowment will keep producing adequate returns. As a financial aid student, I remain committed to getting all the information on this issue so we can have a well-informed discussion. In the meantime, though, it’s wrong to pay for a new library or environmental building with the profits off of the destruction of our futures, and I am glad to hear that the Record shares our concerns.


Sohum Patnaik