We got a “No” and we’re glad we did.
After a year and a few months of campaigning for divestment at Whitman College, the Trustees released their first ever official and public statement in response to student calls for action. The publicized letter regarding divestment was in direct response to a proposed resolution from the student government (Associated Students of Whitman College). That resolution, delivered to the administration last April, advocated for a committee-panel to be created. This committee-panel would have the sole task of investigating the plausibility of divestment at Whitman College and would consists of faculty, staff, students and trustees. The Trustees said no to the creation of this panel and no to divestment overall.
Their letter circulated campus via email, and started a buzz. Over the faculty listserv, professors have been discussing the recent statement and their place within the divestment dilemma. Divest Whitman campaigners were excited to see people taking up the topic again with conviction and we hope to harness the energy and ideas being generated at the moment. Expect to hear more soon.
At large, receiving a statement from the Trustees has revitalized our campaign. We have now set a precedent in which the administration is expected to be respondent when a large enough student voice reaches them. This will mean a lot for our campaign as it grows and for all other sorts of social justice campaigns at Whitman in the future. Conversation is key.
And here is where I get to say: #rejectiondenied. This “No” means we are going to push harder, put in more hours, and accumulate more intelligent arguments and testimonies for divestment. Add Divest Whitman to the list of colleges ready to escalate!