The Yes Men | Reed Divests – Response Press Release
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Reed Divests – Response Press Release

Reveal Date

May 20, 2014

Deplorable Prank Announcement Untrue

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Ore (May 19, 2014) — A press release distributed by an unknown party and an announcement by the 2014 commencement speaker, both released today, contained false information regarding Reed College’s divestment from fossil fuels. Reed College is not divesting from fossil fuels, nor does it intend to in the foreseeable future.

 

“If we divest from fossil fuels, then we’d have to divest from everything that is morally questionable,” said President John R. Kroger. “It’s a slippery slope.”

 

Reed College maintains the same position on investing that it has held for decades as documented in its 1978 “Investment Responsibility Policy.” Then, as now, the mission of the College requires that the provision of a high quality education must be prioritized above questions of a social or moral nature. President John R. Kroger asserts that “when faced with complex problems like climate change, colleges must do what they do best: create highly literate, critically thinking citizens.”

 

The announcement, originally made in a press release, was propagated at the graduation ceremony, when commencement speaker Igor Vamos congratulated the school on its divestment, giving false hope to hundreds of graduates and their families.

 

“It was a poor decision to allow students to choose this speaker,” said Kroger, “and we are re-evaluating our policies regarding the selection of future speakers.”

 

The Reed College Board of Trustees believes that climate change is real and that fossil fuel reserves must not be extracted. Nevertheless, continuing to hold significant investments in fossil fuel extraction is necessary for maintaining the political neutrality of the endowment as a financial resource for the College.

 

Reed apologizes for the confusion caused by the false announcement, and assures that the college will continue to operate as normal. It will not hedge any of its operations due to the consideration of difficult and complex ethical questions. Reed College is not divesting, nor does it plan to divest, either partially or totally from fossil fuels. The College is seeking legal action against the distributors of the press release distributed Monday, May 19th and is investigating the document’s relation to the false announcement made at Monday’s commencement ceremony.

 

Contact: Mandy Heaton

heatonm@reedsustainability.org

Phone: (503) 804-9478