Letter to the Editor: Trustees on FFM Proposal

Letter to the Editor: Trustees on FFM Proposal

Seth Levine and Jerry Crawford

We’re writing today to offer the Macalester community some information on how the board of trustees will be evaluating the student proposal to divest Macalester’s endowment of our Enbridge holdings. As many students are well aware from previous articles in The Mac Weekly as well as other events around campus, Enbridge is the primary supporter of the controversial Line 3 pipeline. If you missed any of the previous articles, you can view them here, here, here, here, here and most recently here. We are very aware that this is an important issue to many faculty, staff and students on campus — as well as others in the broader Macalester community — and we want the community to know how seriously we’re taking the request. 

The board received the Social Responsibility Committee’s (SRC) report from President Suzanne Rivera on April 19. It is our hope to evaluate the proposal quickly, to provide feedback to the community and to operate in a way that is as transparent as possible. To that end, we want to outline key aspects of the review process to ensure that it is not opaque. The board has formed an ad hoc committee to evaluate the proposal (this is the process prescribed by our governance). This committee has already started meeting. The ad hoc committee will seek input from a number of sources, including professionals in the Macalester investment office, members of the SRC and President Rivera. Additionally, we will seek input from students, faculty and staff directly (as well as from others in our broader community). To do that, we are in the process of setting up a web page where community members will be encouraged to submit their comments and feedback to the proposal. We intend to make these comments public so everyone on campus can view them. We will also set up several “listening sessions” where the committee can hear directly from the campus community. We will be asking representatives from student government, the Faculty Advisory Committee and the Staff Advisory Council to respectively nominate students, faculty and staff to talk to the committee (we’re looking to gather information quickly so there will be limited opportunity for this kind of direct feedback). 

More details will be forthcoming as we set the dates for those meetings but our expectation is that they will happen sooner rather than later. Once the committee has completed its work, we will provide a recommendation to the full board of trustees. Our plan is to work thoroughly but quickly. 

We know that the workings of the board of trustees and the specifics of the endowment may not be well understood to many on campus. It is our hope with this process to help reverse that and provide transparency as well as a direct conduit for the campus to raise concerns to the board. We will continue to update the community. 

Jerry Crawford, Class of ’71, is the Chair of the Macalester Board of Trustees; Seth Levine, Class of ’94, is the Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee.