Dear Pax, Isabel, Natasha and Gabi,
I wanted to write with a quick update on the board’s discussions with students this weekend and in the case of Gabi and Natasha over the past six months. All trustees were grateful for these opportunities and for the time students spent with them.
Trustees spent a significant amount of time discussing the Ad Hoc Wells Fargo Committee’s report. (Pax and Isabel likely already remember that this committee of three trustees and two students was formed last summer to consider the student senate’s request that the college change its banking relationship.) These discussions were also impacted by trustees interactions with many other students on Friday, including Greenboard.
I now have learned that Natasha and Gabi received an email from one of the trustees who served on the Ad Hoc Wells Fargo committee telling them of his decision to resign from the board based on his understanding of the board’s discussion. As this action indicates, feelings among trustees do run high about issues of social justice that also motivate many students.
I do not want to preempt trustees’ report of these conversations, and I expect you will receive such a document soon and certainly by the end of the month. My brief summary would note that the board did not vote on the Ad Hoc Wells Fargo Committee’s recommendations, that the conversation included recognition of the negative impact that Wells Fargo’s past actions had on consumers, the board’s purview in choosing vendors, including banks, and the framework or values that would guide decisions when the board decided to intervene or when a complaint against a particular vendor was received. There was support for beginning a process for evaluating our banking relationship and a request for staff to outline such a process, including a timeline.
Some trustees expressed their view that the college should articulate core values that extend beyond the central role of the college in supporting a rigorous, inclusive, and impactful educational program. Ideally such an articulation of underlying values would inform the ways the college would seek to align those values with various actions the college takes, for instance on which vendors (such as the college’s bank) we hire, and how we manage these relationships.
I regret that I am out of the office and likely unavailable even by telephone for most of the week. I look forward to meeting with Gabi and Natasha, as I wrote earlier, and with Pax and Isabel at our next regular meeting. In the meantime, I know that Mike Brody and Nigel Nicholson would like to hear from you and address any questions you have as both attended that part of the trustee meeting.
Best wishes to you –