Letter to the Editor: Wildes, address divestment concerns

Max Boyce

Dear Father Wildes,

We’ve composed this letter with hopes that you will provide a clear response to the concerns being raised about the University’s investments in for-profit prisons and the fossil fuel industry.

Outcries from the student body have been growing louder in the struggle for racial, gender identity and environmental justice on campus. The time has come for an official, clearly outlined, response from administration to the Loyola community that resonates with a commitment for change.

If Loyola University ultimately looks toward being a leader and protector of social justice, then it must take bold steps to divest from the very institutions that aid in oppression, destroy frontline communities and threaten the well-being of our future generations. Loyola University New Orleans has an incredible opportunity to lead the way in the southeastern region of the continental U.S. to divest from private prisons and fossil fuels.

Transparency is the first order of business that needs to be addressed. The community deserves to know where their contributions are being invested. We ask you to confirm your position of removing any investments in the private prison industry and begin divestment from the fossil fuel industry. The aforementioned changes should be considered as fundamental to the vision of a Jesuit institution.

The leader of the Catholic Church and fellow Jesuit, Pope Francis, directly calls us to reckon with our moral ecology in his letter, Laudato Si. This encyclical letter written to all people on this planet demands we act:

“A change in lifestyle could bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power. This is what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products. They prove successful in changing the way businesses operate, forcing them to consider their environmental footprint and their patterns of production. When social pressure affects their earnings, businesses clearly have to find ways to produce differently. This shows us the great need for a sense of social responsibility on the part of consumers. Purchasing is always a moral, and not simply economic, act. Today, in a word, the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our lifestyle” (No.206).

You owe it to the dedicated student body, your impassioned and loyal faculty, staff and alumni to address these concerns. It is time for a plan of action. You have a team of dedicated students willing and available to carry out a vision that supports Loyola and the greater community’s health and well-being.

This letter will be shared with the various parties mentioned above to model the transparency that is so pivotal to the success of the suggested changes.


Max Boyce, Divest Loyno