Divestment Timeline


This timeline does not cover the South African apartheid divestment campaign. Those interested should check out the Global Nonviolent Action Database entry on the campaign.

Timeline by year


Date Unknown: the Board of Managers adopts the ban on ethical divestment. Read more

February 8: South African apartheid divestment activists return funds held in escrow to Swarthmore. Read more


October 14: Swarthmore seeks reinvestment in South Africa following the end of apartheid. Read more


November 7, 1997: Consumers Condemn Swat Investments. Read more


February 1, 2001: College Should Divest From Arms Manufacturing. Read more


December 5, 2002: Don’t Buy Into Divest-From-Israel Campaigns. Read more


April 29, 2004: Swarthmore celebrates its strategy of shareholder activism and offers a revisionist history of the ban. Read more


January 20, 2005: Sudan divestment campaign. Read more


January 22, 2009: alumni start Israel divestment campaign. Read more


October, 2010: Swarthmore Mountain Justice forms. Read more


Spring: MJ begins its campaign https://swatmountainjustice.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/swarthmore-mountain-justice-invites-president-chopp-to-support-divestment/

May 10, 2011: Mountain Justice releases “A Call to Action//A Statement of Intent.” Read more

October 6, 2011: Letters in student mailboxes address investment of Swat’s endowment. Read more

December 3, 2011: Mountain Justice Street Theater: A (Divestment) Christmas Carol. Read more


February 23, 2012: Mountain Justice Divestment Petition FAQs. Read more

February 25, 2012: SPJP Calls for Boycott of Sabra Hummus. Read more

March 19, 2012: Swarthmore Receives a ‘Black Gold’ Award from the U.S. Dirty Energy Council. Read more

March 26: MJ meets with President Chopp https://swatmountainjustice.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/swarthmore-mountain-justice-invites-president-chopp-to-support-divestment/

April 1, 2012: Mountain Justice Becomes MJ To Celebrate King of Pop. Read more

April 6, 2012: Swarthmore Mountain Justice Invites President Chopp to Support Divestment. Read more

April 14, 2012: Mountain Justice convenes a Fossil Fuel Divestment Panel. Read more

April 19, 2012: President Rebecca Chopp dismisses fossil fuel divestment in an op-ed. Read more

April 26, 2012: Project shows corporate involvement in occupation. Read more

September 6, 2012: Mountain Justice mobilizes alumni to support fossil fuel divestment. Read more

October 24, 2012: Swarthmore Mountain Justice visits a mountaintop removal site. Read more

October 29, 2012: Mountain Justice demonstrates during Hurricane Sandy. Read more

November 8, 2012: Alumni Join Mountain Justice. Read more

November 15, 2012: Mountain Justice creates an art installation showing fossil fuel divestment campaigns at other institutions. Read more

November 15, 2012: Students Press on Investments, Administration Unmoved. Read more

November 20, 2012: Swat Mountain Justice Protests Keystone Pipeline. Read more

November 22, 2012: Mountain Justice speaks at Do the Math Philadelphia. Read more

December 5, 2012: Mountain Justice Make NYTimes.com Front Page. Read more

December 7, 2012: Fossil Fuel Divestment Dominos. Read more

December 12, 2012: The Dominoes Are Falling: Managers Agree to Discuss Divestment as Response to Climate Change. Read more


February 14, 2013: Faculty Facilitate Teach-In on Climate Change. Read more

February 23-24, 2013: Mountain Justice hosts the national Power Up! Divest Fossil Fuels Student Convergence. Read more

April 1, 2013: Board of Managers Divests. Read more

April 25, 2013: History department calls for divestment. Read more

April 19, 2013: Mountain Justice calls for an escalation of the fossil fuel divestment campaign. Read more

May 6, 2013: Student Protesters Take Over Open Board Meeting, State Wide Array of Concerns. Read more

May 9, 2013: Swarthmore Pegs Cost of Divestment at $200 Million Over 10 Years. Read more

May 19, 2013: Religion department calls for Divestment. Read more

September 12, 2013: Board says it will not divest. Read more

October 1, 2013: Mountain Justice, Shut Out of Board Meeting, Demonstrates Regardless. Read more

October 3, 2013: Mountain Justice protests outside board meeting. Read more


March 6, 2014: In tactical shift, MJ launches alternative investment campaign. Read more

April 24, 2014: Mountain Justice member coordinates divestment conference in San Francisco. Read more

September 25, 2014: Phoenix editorial board announces its support for fossil fuel divestment. Read more

October 23, 2014: English department calls for fossil fuel divestment. Read more

October 23, 2014: The little orange square: fashion and divestment. Read more

October 23, 2014: Board defends conflict of interest in investments. Read more

November 19, 2014: Mountain Justice holds a press conference to announce that Swarthmore’s highest-paid investment manager will offer fossil-free portfolios to institutions that want to divest. Read more

December 6, 2014: Mountain Justice delivers a divestment petition with hundreds of student, faculty, and alumni signatures to the Board. Read more


January 29, 2015: MJ to meet with Board of Managers next Monday. Read more

February 5, 2015: MJ presents proposal to Board members. Read more

February 12, 2015: Professors question endowment spending policy. Read more

February 13, 2015: 60 students launch the Divestment Escalation Pledge. Read more

February 20, 2015: faculty deliver a letter in support of divestment to the Board signed by 92 professors. Read more

March 7, 2015: an Investment Expert Hired By Swarthmore Calls for Divestment. Read more

March 19, 2015: 37 Swarthmore Students and 6 Alumni Begin Sit-in in Finance and Investments Office for Divestment. Read more

March 20, 2015: Intercultural Center calls for fossil fuel divestment. Read more

March 23, 2015: UN Climate Chief and Swarthmore alumna Christiana Figueres ’79 Supports Sit-in. Read more

March 27, 2015: 5,400 signatures in solidarity with Mountain Justice sit-in. Read more

April 1, 2015: BREAKING: Swarthmore College Divests From Everything. Read more. Read more

April 2, 2015: McKibben leads rally for divestment, sits in. Read more

April 2, 2015: Swarthmore Democrats call for fossil fuel divestment. Read more

April 9, 2015: No divestment, no donations, some alums say. Read more

April 9, 2015: Re-imagining the campaign: what climate justice can teach MJ. Read more

April 10, 2015: 350 Swarthmore Alumni Pledge not to donate until the Board commits to fossil fuel divest. Read more

April 16, 2015: Dean Baker ’80, co founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, calls for fossil fuel divestment. Read more

April 16, 2015: Sociology/Anthropology department issues letter of support for fossil fuel divestment. Read more

April 17, 2015: Alumni Deliver 360 pledges not to donate until the Board divests & 1083 petition signatures. Read more

April 22, 2015: seven Swarthmore professors send a proposal for a partial fossil fuel divestment option to the Board. Read more

April 23, 2015: Faculty vote in favor of fresh divestment proposal. Read more

April 24, 2015: With commitment by Board to engage with proposal and faculty resolution of support, MJ ends 32-day sit-in. Read more

May 2, 2015: Board declines to divest. Read more

May 3, 2015: fossil fuel industry lobbying group praises Swarthmore for refusing to divest. Read more

May 10, 2015: Delco Times calls for fossil fuel divestment. Read more

May 31, 2015: Molly Miller Jahn ’80, world-renowned plant geneticist, expresses support for the student fossil fuel divestment campaign during her commencement address. Read more

June 6, 2015: alumni show their support for fossil fuel divestment during Alumni Weekend. Read more

September 24, 2015: Mountain Justice Protests Board, Citing Republication of Board Data by IPAA. Read more

October 1, 2015: Refusal to divest may not have been entirely financial. Read more

October 1, 2015: Mountain Justice Rallies Against ‘Political Statement’ of Board. Read more

December 8, 2015: MJ: Fossil Fuel-Free Fund is Just the First Step. Read more


January 28, 2016: Mountain Justice: Three Board Members Must Leave Divestment Conversation. Read more

February 15, 2016: Noam Chomsky, Arlie Hochschild, John Braxton, Lotte Bailyn, Lorene Cary and Barbara Hall Partee Call on Swarthmore’s Board of Managers to Divest. Read more

February 24, 2016: MJ Hand-Delivers Letter; Next Day, Board Says Nothing About Divestment. Read more

February 25, 2016: Board Members’ Conflicts of Interest in Regards to the Fossil Fuel Industry Leave Us No Choice but to Escalate. Read more

March 13, 2016: Professor Smithey: Carbon charge no alternative to divestment. Read more

March 16, 2016: Pledge to Escalate this April. Read more

March 24, 2016: Distractors from debate. Read more

April 1, 2016: Board of Managers Begins Drilling Operations. Read more

April 7, 2016: Mountain Justice escalates action in Philadelphia. Read more

September 21, 2016: Mountain Justice Brings President a Pipeline and a Letter. Read more

September 22, 2016: following Yale’s partial divestment, Mountain Justice requests a meeting with Valerie Smith. Read more

October 3, 2016: McKibben and Krueger Braneky rally at Swarthmore College. Read more


February 21, 2017: students vote on a Mountain Justice referendum for partial divestment from fossil fuels. Read more

February 21, 2017: Read: Letters Between Alum and Board on Divestment. Read more

February 23, 2017: After SGO referendum, board still votes “no”. Read more

February 24, 2017: Students stage sit-in to demand the Board seriously consider the student referendum on divestment. Read more

January 30, 2017: Students and Professors Walkout, Teach-In for Divestment. Read more

March 2, 2017: Mountain Justice stages sit-in and protest after Board’s divestment decision. Read more

March 21, 2017: Administration threatens students with probation and fines for Feb sit-in. Read more

March 24, 2017: Swarthmore College Faculty Resolution on Fossil Fuel Divestment and Reinvestment. Read more

March 30, 2017: administration response to divestment activism. Read more

March 30, 2017: Divestment necessary as a model of sustainability. Read more

March 30, 2017: MJ members receive sanctions. Read more

March 30, 2017: MJ to fully automate divestment protest process. Read more

April 1, 2017: Citing Investment Policy, Swarthmore Reinvests in Apartheid. Read more

April 20, 2017: Swarthmore institutes an internal carbon charge in response to the divestment movement. Read more

April 21, 2017: faculty with Swat Divest perform Unless: a Dramatic Divestment Reading. Read more

April 24, 2017: 30 begin sit-in to demand Pres. Smith & Board stop hiding behind 1991 Ban on using endowment for social purpose. Read more

September 7, 2017: Mountain Justice hands the torch to Sunrise Swarthmore. Read more

November 18, 2017: Swarthmore again rejects divestment. Read more

November 14, 2017: Sunrise Swarthmore prepares time capsule. Read more


February 20, 2018: SBC to Move Surplus Funds into Fossil-Free Endowment. Read more

March 1, 2018: Sunrise, SGO, SBC to invest surplus money into a fossil-free fund. Read more

March 26, 2018: More than hummus: renewing the call to boycott Sabra. Read more

March 30, 2018: Ban the Ban: Behind Swarthmore’s Decision to Hide Away From Divestment. Read more

April 3, 2018: President Smith rejects Sabra boycott, SJP responds. Read more

April 3, 2018: SQU Board Letter of Solidarity with SJP. Read more

April 5, 2018: Sunrise pushes for new divestment referendum. Read more

April 11, 2018: Referendum on the 1991 Ban: All You Need to Know. Read more

April 12, 2018: SJP Sabra Boycott Gains Traction. Read more

April 16, 2018: Sunrise Swarthmore vs Swarthmore Conservatives debate on the 1991 ban. Read more

April 19, 2018: Sunrise referendum on 1991 divestment ban passes. Read more

April 26, 2018: Professor Mark Wallace continues his fast of concern for fossil fuel divestment at Swarthmore College. Read more

April 30, 2018: Today, Professor Schuetze begins her weeklong fast for fossil fuel divestment and in support of the student referendum against the 1991 Ban. Listen to Aru Shiney-Ajay share her story about how climate impacts her family and Professor Schuetze on why she has chosen to fast!. Read more

May 1, 2018: Students for Transformative Justice, Abolition, and Reform releases its statement. Read more

May 4, 2018: Class of ’67 50th Reunion Panel: Swarthmore and Climate Change. Read more

May 7, 2018: Grant Brown shares a story about how climate change is impacting his home, while Professors Lee Smithey, Betsey Bolton, and Liz Nichols launch the third week of the faculty fast. Read more

June 11, 2018: Swarthmore rejects the student referendum demanding an end to the 1991 ban. Read more

October 25, 2018: SJP Announces New BDS Campaign. Letters of solidarity pour in. Read more

[delete] November 20, 2018: Interfaith Center Interns Letter of Support for BDS Campaign. Read more

[delete] December 5, 2018: SISA Letter of Support for SJP. Read more

December 12, 2018: Students deliver over 1,000 petition signatures to President Smith, urging Swarthmore College to divest from Israeli apartheid. Read more


February 12, 2019: Introducing Jewish Voice for Peace. Read more

February 14, 2019: Surprise visit disrupts SGO vote on BDS resolution. Read more

February 18, 2019: JVP Statement of Support for BDS Campaign. Read more

February 21, 2019: Phoenix editorial board writes “Swarthmore Should Commit More Fully to Climate Action.” Read more

February 21, 2019: BDS Vote Leaves SJP Frustrated, SGO Divided. Read more

February 28, 2019: JVP Centers Jewish Identity on Israel-Palestine. Read more

February 28, 2019: SGO Hosts Discussion on BDS Resolution, Will Revote. Read more

March 1, 2019: SJP and JVP Members Show Solidarity at SGO Forum on BDS. Read more

March 3, 2019: Sunrise Swarthmore Open Letter to SGO. Read more

March 7, 2019: After Revote, SGO Announces Support for Board’s Divestment from Israel. Read more

March 7, 2019: Unequivocally Rejecting Swarthmore Hate. Read more

March 12, 2019: Swarthmore rejects SGO resolution in favor of divestment from Israel. Read more

March 18, 2019: Letter in support of Swarthmore SJP students, their BDS campaign, and all students fighting for a just world. Read more

March 18, 2019: SJP Statement on SGO Vote. Read more

April 10, 2019: STAR Letter of Solidarity With Freedom Campus Action. Read more

October 9, 2019: Renewing the Call for BDS: One Year Into Our Campaign. Read more

November 11, 2019: Ban the Ban coalition releases its statement. Read more

December 9, 2019: Ban the Ban holds a community meeting. Read more


February 8, 2020: Ban the Ban holds a community meeting. Read more

February 27, 2020: Canary Mission Website Adds Profiles of [read, targets] Swarthmore Community Members for Pro-Palestine Activism. Read more

February 27, 2020: The Phoenix editorial board calls on Swarthmore to end its 1991 ban on ethical divestment. Read more

October 23, 2020: Know the Ban, Ban the Ban I. Read more

October 30, 2020: Swarthmore College: Divest from Israeli Apartheid Now. Read more


March 19, 2021: Know the Ban, Ban the Ban II. Read more