A contingent of Fort Lewis College students, about 40 strong, Tuesday delivered to the president’s office a petition demanding that the college foundation drop all coal, oil and natural gas from its investment portfolio within five years.
The timing was a nod to the 44th celebration of Earth Day.
When the Divest FLC Now members didn’t find Dene Kay Thomas in her office, they left the petition bearing more than 1,000 signatures with campus spokesman Mitch Davis.
Davis later said Thomas is attending a National Collegiate Athletic Association meeting in Indianapolis. The Fort Lewis College Foundation board at its meeting next week is scheduled to vote on the divestiture demand, he said.
Davis said the foundation, the fundraising arm of the college, is studying how Harvard and Middlebury College handled similar demands. Fort Lewis College itself has no investments in fossil fuel, Davis said.
Fossil fuels account for about 1 percent of the foundation’s investment portfolio, or about $150,000, Davis said.
Rally participants weaved their way through the Student Union to administrative offices in Berndt Hall chanting “FLC Take a Stand, Remove All Oil from Our Land.”
Before stepping off, the group heard a call to arms from sociology professor Janine Fitzgerald and Divest FLC Now member Lionel Di Giacomo.
Fitzgerald, who teaches a class called The End of Oil, called Divest FLC Now an “incredible movement.” Climate change is depressing, she said.
Calls to move away from fossil fuels are met with reactions such as “We need energy to live” or “It’s too late anyway,” Fitzgerald said.
“But obviously, this is the right thing to do,” she said.
Di Giacomo said climate change affects the most vulnerable people and places.
“We want to be able to tell our children that we did what we could,” Di Giacomo said.
Michaela Steiner, a sophomore majoring in gender and women’s studies, founded Divest FLC Now in June 2013.
“We want to move beyond Earth Day to the world we want to live in,” Steiner said. “It’s not right to profit from the wreckage of Earth.”