Why the University has a moral obligation to divest from TD bank

Keely Lyons

UVM is helping build the Dakota Access Pipeline.

UVM invests in three major banks: TD Bank, Citizens Bank and People’s United Bank.

It is unclear how much money UVM invests in these banks. However, it is clear how much money these banks give to the companies responsible for constructing the DAPL.

TD Securities gives $365 million to Dakota Access and Sunoco Logistics in project level loans and revolving credit.

Citizen’s Bank gives $72.5 million to Sunoco Logistics in revolving credit, and U.S. Bank gives $275 million to Sunoco Logistics and Energy Transfer Partners in revolving credit, according to Food and Water Watch.

Thus, UVM should divest immediately from TD Bank, Citizens Bank and U.S. Bank.

The DAPL is a humanitarian and environmental disaster. Seventeen million people’s water faces risk of contamination, according to Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

By investing in these banks, UVM endorses a crisis on the scale of Flint, Michigan. Investing in these three banks goes against the University’s principles of social justice and environmentalism. How can we attract our generation’s future activists while funding this massive humanitarian crisis?

How can we call ourselves the best place to study environmental science while funding a company that supports the fossil fuel industry?

UVM must make a choice about whether it wants to be an ethical institution that is dedicated to the success of all people, rather than only looking out for its own financial success.

By allowing these banks on our campus, we disrespect the protestors at Standing Rock, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all victims of pollution caused by the DAPL.

By using TD Bank to help build our athletic complexes and sponsor our athletes, we show our complacency regarding the violence against protesters.

By investing in Citizens Bank, we say that we stand with the fossil fuel industry.

When we keep U.S. Bank as our custodial bank, we say we are fine with our University contributing to anthropogenic climate change.

UVM needs to divest now from TD Bank, Citizens Bank and U.S. Bank in order to stop contributing to the DAPL.

If UVM divests, students can be sure the University is committed to making the world a sustainable place