The Harriman and West Airport is a lovely spot, just minutes from campus. With a 4,000+ foot runway, it is perfect for the small jets that rich Ephs like to fly. Are any Ephs flying in for the week-end? It’s Convocation and the Trustees are meeting some trustees are in town. An enterprising Record reporter ought to go down to the airport and check.

Why? Recall the Trustees’ statement on sustainability.

WHEREAS, The President and Trustees of Williams College believe that the principles and practices of environmental sustainability in general, and greenhouse gas emissions reductions specifically, are institutional priorities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

As recommended by the President’s Staff acting on the report of the Climate Action Committee, Williams College hereby adopts as a goal the reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions by ten percent below the College’s 1990-91 emissions level by the year 2020.

Love the WHEREAS and all the CAPITAL LETTERS! Makes the whole thing quite classy.

Now, the problem here is not so much that global warming is over hyped and that money spent reducing greenhouse gas emissions would be better spend elsewhere. The problem, as with the palatial offices in the new Stetson, is the hypocrisy from College officials. If Morty and the Trustees are going to insist that fighting global warming is an institutional priority then, at the very least, they need to act consistent with that belief when conducting College business.

Check out the the Trustees. Many are very, very rich. Do you really think that, say, Gregory Avis ’80 or William Oberndorf ’75 fly coach on commercial planes, that they come from California to Albany with at least one connecting flight inbetween? I’ll take the other side of that bet!

Now, being a fellow Eph in finance, I celebrate the wealth of Avis, Oberndorf and other successful graduates. The more rich Ephs, the better. Moreover, since this is a free country, they should be allowed to spend their money on whatever they like, including private jet travel. I know that I would! But don’t lecture me with a bunch of WHEREASES and THEREFORES on the scourge of carbon emissions while simultaneously flying a private jet to a trustee meeting.

[For the record, I have no information on the flying habits of any particular trustee. Maybe they all bicycle to the meetings! But I do know my fair share of very rich people. As a rule, they don’t fly coach to Albany.]

And where are my friends from the Thursday Night Group? Surely they would agree that private jet travel by trustees to a College function is the height of hypocrisy. Or have they been fooled on this one just as they were on the carbon impact of new construction? If so, Morty is even more clever than I thought!

UPDATE: Thanks for the clarification that the trustees do not have a formal meeting this week-end.

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