Honor Board: Inclusion

What does the Honor Board even do? Some people think that when a case happens, the Honor Board has the power to decide what the sanctions are. That isn’t what actually occurs. The Honor Board’s role in cases is closer to mediators than adjudicators. Honor Board members are involved in collecting information for a case and handling the logistics, but we do not actually have any decision-making power. Determination of responsibility and of sanctions is decided by the Hearing Panel, a group of four students selected from a larger pool of trained students (although this semester’s pool isn’t as large as they tend to be (plug: get trained!)). Additionally, there are checks in the Panel selection process and sanction implementation process, so the idea of either the Board or the Panel having too much power doesn’t hold water. Still, it’s understandable that some people are skeptical and distrustful of the Honor Board. If your experience with the Honor Board is interacting with us for cases, and especially if you are unhappy with how the case was handled, then you’ll have a very particular perception of the Honor Board.
The Honor Board has been trying, for many semesters, to become more involved in the everyday lives of students. We want to become approachable to the student body as a whole. Rather than only being needed in times of crisis, the Honor Board should be a place for students to turn to no matter the circumstances. We are a living breathing organization and as such, we want to reevaluate our role on campus and what we can give to the student body. To achieve this end, this semester we decided on the goal to “position the Honor Board as supporters of inclusion” on campus.
As you may have noticed, the Honor Board earlier this semester put out a box asking students what parts of their identity they feel they can’t show on campus. From those responses, we grouped several similar ones into larger categories and then showed the breakdown of those categories in a pie chart shown in the dining hall. We also created a word cloud of the responses, which you can see below:


This chart represents our 52 responses. We noticed a trend of students feeling that they could not share their conservatism, religious beliefs, national identity, and introversion, to name a few. Many students also expressed how their identity has changed since arriving at Olin and were not sure how to communicate those changes. In creating spaces for these students to not only express but also to uncover their identity, we hope that we are able to create a more inclusive community at Olin.
Of course, we don’t expect that this conversation ends with us or with this article. As such, we will be holding a conversation about identity at Olin on Wednesday December 7th at 7-8:30pm in the library. We expect this to be an open conversation based in the information we have already gathered from the student body along with other insights you are willing to share with us. It will be formatted as a drop-in session, so feel free to come by whenever you can. We will also be sending out an email with the following article so that we can get your feedback on it and have this conversation be an ongoing one. As always, please feel free to reach out to anyone on the board or come to our open meetings Tuesday during lunch in CC 210.

Fossil Fuels and Olin

As alumni we were excited last May to read about the efforts of several students to engage the administration and work towards divestment. If Olin divests we would be in good company, joining other schools like BU, Stanford, Yale, RISD, UMass, and over 500 institutions with total assets of over $3.4 trillion dollars. But important questions need to be answered. Is divestment a sound financial decision? Is it an effective way to accomplish anything?
I hope to make it clear that investing in fossil fuels is almost certainly an unsound financial decision. Fossil fuel companies live and die by a measure called the reserve replacement ratio, which is the ratio of proven fuel reserves added to a company’s reserve base to the amount of fuel removed from these reserves (the amount of fuels produced). A ratio above 100% means that a company is adding as much or more than it’s using, and so will stay stable or grow. A ratio less than 100% means that the company will eventually run out of reserves and die. Dropping below that 100% mark can be disastrous for the value of a company’s stock. In summary, an accurate reserve replacement ratio is a huge determiner of the value of a fossil fuel company’s stock.
Scientifically speaking, it is clear that if we want to meet global warming targets set out in international agreements like the Paris agreement then there is a limit on how much CO2 we can emit, a so-called carbon budget. Current projections suggest a budget of around 800 GtCO2 (gigatons carbon dioxide) to have a 66% chance of staying below warming of 2°C (closer to 500 GtCO2 for an 80% chance), the current agreed-upon target. At the same time, proven reserves (which go into the calculation of reserve replacement ratio and thus the value of fossil fuel companies) are estimated to represent around 2,800 GtCO2 in potential emissions, or around 3-4 times the carbon budget (5-6 times for 80% chance). In other words, in order to meet current globally agreed warming targets, about 66-75% of what fossil fuel companies are valued by needs to remain in the ground, becoming so-called stranded assets. This suggests a market value for these companies that is far, far below the current market valuation, making continued investment in this bubble a very risky proposition.
Unless, that is, you believe that these companies will be able to dig up and burn all of these reserves, which would pretty much guarantee warming >2°C, with unpredictable but potentially catastrophic consequences. It is likely that this scenario would be exceedingly bad for global markets, and thus making an investment in this scenario is a very poor long-term investment for a school that, I assume, wishes to still be around for the later half of the century.
On the moral side, we are already seeing the negative effects of CO2 emission driven climate change in lives and livelihoods, from superstorms to increased droughts, fires, floods, famines, and war. The fossil fuel companies themselves are associated with large-scale destruction of ecosystems (think BP oil spill and tar sands) and blatant racism in the placement of fossil fuel infrastructure (think rerouting of the Dakota Access Pipeline through Native American land because of concerns about the impacts on predominantly white communities). Since the profits of these companies don’t account for these many externalities, Olin’s profiting off of these companies is tantamount stealing from everyone, including its students, who are and will continue to live their lives in this world affected by climate change.
A desire to “Better the World” is baked into Olin’s Vision and Mission, but these risky investments put that mission in jeopardy. Either the carbon bubble pops and Olin loses a lot of money again (recall what happened last time), or all of that fuel is burned and a better future is exceedingly unlikely. No matter what your belief or preferred argument I hope that I have made it clear that these investments are a threat to Olin’s mission and should be removed as quickly as possible.

Horoscopes by Drunk Editors

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21): The course of true love never did run smooth.
Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19): Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18): Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste death but once.
Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20): Never a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
Aries (March 21 – April 19): The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Taurus (April 20 – May 20): Out, out brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Gemini (May 21 – June 20): This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night and day, thou canst not be false to any man.
Cancer (June 21 – July 22): Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, Men were deceivers ever; one foot in the sea, and one on the shore, to one thing con- stant never.
Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22):
Have more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest, lend less than thoou owest, ride more than thou goest, learn more than thou trowest, set less than thou throwest.
Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22): Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we might oft win, by fearing to attempt.
Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22): Swear not my the moon, the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circled orb, less that thy love prove likewise variable.
Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21): You starvelling, you elfskin, you dried neet’s tongue, you bull’s pizzle, you stockfish. O for breath to utter what is like thee!
For potential legal reasons, though Shakespeare is public domain, dis- claimer: all quotes are Shakespeare, and Frankly Speaking does not make financial gains from their use.