An open letter to Christina Paxson, regarding Brown University accounts with Citizens Bank
#ShameOnCitizens

Wednesday April 19, 2017

Christina Paxson, President
Brown University
Box 182
Providence RI, 02912

Dear President Paxson,

We are members of the Brown University community. We write regarding Brown University’s payroll accounts with Citizens Bank.*

Since March 2015, Citizens Bank has been participating in a revolving line of credit to Sunoco Logistics Partners, a company that recently entered a merger agreement with Energy Transfer Partners. Together, these companies are building the Dakota Access, Bayou Bridge, Mariner East, and Trans-Pecos pipelines. These projects are neither moral nor sustainable. Until Citizens Bank closes its line of credit for Sunoco Logistics Partners, we ask that this university move its accounts to another bank or credit union that is not funding environmental violence and indigenous genocide.

In the last two years, Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners have been responsible for 35 spills, releasing a total of 111,000 gallons of oil into the environment, including over 18,000 gallons into waterways. When pipelines spill, communities lose access to clean drinking water. Exposure to crude oil can cause pulmonary complications, miscarriages, leukemia, neurological damage, and skin disorders ranging from severe eczema to cancer. Clean up takes years. The environmental damage lasts decades. In other words, the risk is high, and the consequences are devastating.

In addition to posing immediate hazards to local communities, Citizens’ funding of the fossil fuel industry threatens human life across the globe. Overwhelming scientific evidence points to fossil fuel consumption as a significant cause of anthropogenic climate change. Already, we have seen massive flooding, drought, crop failure, forest fires, and an increase in natural disasters. In 2009—the year for which we have most recent data—over 20 million people were displaced by the symptoms of climate change. Multiple scientific studies estimate that at least 200 million people will be climate refugees by 2050. It is clear to anyone who is paying attention: investment in the fossil fuel industry is irresponsible and unsustainable.

Citizens is funding the Dakota Access pipeline, which crosses the Missouri River and threatens the drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux and 17 million others living downstream. The pipeline also desecrates Lakota burial grounds, in violation of treaty agreements. The tribes of the Great Sioux Nation and their allies camped near the construction site for nearly a year to defend their water and land. State police and private security firms hired by Energy Transfer Partners attacked water protectors with vicious dogs, shot them in the face and body at close range with rubber bullets, broke their bones with gas grenades, inflicted skin lesions and respiratory damage with repeated use of toxic tear gas, and blasted them with water cannons in below-freezing temperatures. In late January, the National Guard positioned two missile launchers near the construction site. Following President Trump’s executive order, the camps were forcibly evacuated in February.

We, Brown community members, act in solidarity with the Great Sioux Nation and the people of Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Texas who are resisting the desecration of their land and water. We act in solidarity with indigenous members of our own community and Natives at Brown, who have supported the NoDAPL movement and Native and Indigenous rights. We act in alignment with the Providence-based #ShameonCitizens campaign, and with the understanding that Citizens Bank has declined multiple opportunities to engage and respond to these local and national concerns. In February, Citizens Bank physically barred Lakota activists from entering its headquarters in Providence; the following week, the #ShameonCitizens campaign delivered a letter to the bank headquarters requesting that they divest from Sunoco Logistics. In early March three activists, including two members of the Brown community, locked down at Citizens Bank in protest. Over the past month, the #ShameonCitizens campaign has organized Rhode Island residents and institutions in divesting from Citizens Bank. All have made statements to the bank explaining their reasons. Citizens Bank has yet to issue any response to these actions, although executives are fully aware of them and silently attended a March 22nd city council meeting discussing a proposed citywide divestment ordinance.

In 2013, Brown community members demanded that this university end its investments in fossil fuels. The Corporation refused. Today we are making a smaller ask: use your contracts as leverage in this fight for human rights. As members of this community, we call on the Corporation of Brown University to condemn the violence at Standing Rock and take immediate action. Inform Citizens Bank that you will end your contracts unless they divest from the companies behind the Dakota Access pipeline: Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco Logistics, Enbridge, Marathon and Phillips 66.

In November 2017, you affirmed that the Brown community will continue to uphold "the treatment of all people with dignity." Let's act on these words.

Signed,

Andrew Lawrence, Undergraduate Student
Aaron Ziemer, Undergraduate Student
Logan Dreher, Undergraduate Student
Izza Drury, Undergraduate Student
Zachary Kligler, Undergraduate Student
Lauren Maunus, Undergraduate Student
Gretchen Peterson, Undergraduate Student
Emma Bouton, Undergraduate Student
Quinn Abrams, Undergraduate Student
Evan Lehmann, Undergraduate Student
Nina Wolff Landau, Undergraduate Student
Cole Adams '19, Undergraduate Student
Cora Wiese Moore, Undergraduate Student
Emily Greenberg, Undergraduate Student
Mayo Saji, Undergraduate Student
Donia Torabian, Undergraduate Student
Rebecca Dalum, Undergraduate Student
Ella Kilpatrick Kotner, Undergraduate Student
Jessica Jiang, Undergraduate Student
Amelie-Sophie Vavrovsky, Undergraduate Student
Tarik Aougab, Faculty
Yang Xiao, Graduate Student
Vanessa Flores-Maldonado, Alumni
Adeline Mitchell, Alumni
Lucas Smolcic Larson, Undergraduate Student
Annajane Yolken, Alumni
Celeste Cahn, Alumni
Stefany Garcia, Undergraduate Student
Sohum Chokshi, Undergraduate Student
Todd Baker, Alumni
Jonathan Juarez, Alumni
Eleanor Meshnick, Undergraduate Student
Andres Chang, Undergraduate Student
Nell Baldwin, Medical Student
Kristine Mar, Undergraduate Student
Liliana Sampedro, Undergraduate Student
Carla Castillo, Medical Student
Julian Jimarez Howard, Alumni
Emily Yoshioka, Undergraduate Student
Joseph DiZoglio Jr., Medical Student
Natalia Ginsburg, Undergraduate Student
Arely Diaz-Loza, Undergraduate Student
Emily Wooldridge, Undergraduate Student
Victoria Huynh, Undergraduate Student
Jenny Li, Alumni
Anne Fosburg, Undergraduate Student
Katie Parker, Alumni
Rajita Chandak, Undergraduate Student
August Guang, Graduate Student
Helen McDonald, Alumni
casey friedman, Alumni
Allyson Masunaga Goto, Undergraduate Student
Marielle Bugayong, Undergraduate Student
Elizabeth Hoover, Faculty
Angelica Arellano, Undergraduate Student
Kendra Cornejo, Alumni
M Feibelman, ND, Alumni
Janine Goetzen, Undergraduate Student
Joy Yamaguchi, Undergraduate Student
Aya Bisbee, Undergraduate Student
Cameron Chaleff, Undergraduate Student
Emma Scarpa, Graduate Student
Alena Kantor, Undergraduate Student
Michael Warren Murphy, Graduate Student
Yansy Salmerón, Undergraduate Student
Asante Crews, Undergraduate Student
Mark Cladis, Faculty
Denise Marte, Medical Student
Eve Dewan, Graduate Student
Robert C. Kashow, Graduate Student
Malcolm Drenttel, Undergraduate Student
Alexander Nibley, Undergraduate Student
Michael Schwartz, Undergraduate Student
Sarah dAngelo, Faculty
Sienna Zeilinger, Alumni and Staff
Christopher Joseph Lee, Graduate Student
Elizabeth Gray , Graduate Student
Gavriel cutipa zorn, Alumni
Daniel A. Rodriguez, Faculty
Sara Hefny, Graduate Student
Maryori Conde, Undergraduate Student
Henry Seiler, Undergraduate Student
Jamison Meader, Undergraduate Student
Naoko Shibusawa, Faculty
Melody Chan, Faculty
Thomas Culver, Undergraduate Student
Kristen Durbin, Medical Student
Ricardo Jaramillo, Undergraduate Student
Tristan Rodman, Alumni
Brian Solomon, Undergraduate Student
Harry August, Undergraduate Student
Sofia Robledo Rower, Undergraduate Student
Bonginkosi Sibanda, Undergraduate Student
Daniel Crowell, Undergraduate Student
Nicholas Andersen, Graduate Student
Caroline Frank, Faculty
Emily Owens, Faculty
Sean Hyland, Graduate Student
Emma Illick-Frank, Undergraduate Student
Leah Milan, Staff
Jori Ketten, Alumni and Staff
Angella Ford, Staff
Sebastian Clark, Alumni
Gregory Hitch, Graduate Student
Sophie Duncan, Alumni
Ann Garth, Undergraduate Student
Leticia Alvarado, Faculty
Anni Pullagura, Graduate Student
Jonathan Cortez, Graduate Student
Maggie Unverzagt Goddard, Graduate Student
Sarah Brown, Graduate Student
Jenna Laycraft, Graduate Student
Layla Ehsan, Alumni
Shannon Sotomayor, Undergraduate Student
Benjamin Holtzman, Faculty
Jeff Feldman, Graduate Student
Julian Francis Park, Alumni
Adrienne Keene, Faculty
Rebecca Schneider, Faculty
Tracy A. Miller, Alumni
Erik Ehn, TAPS, Faculty
Rebekah Yang, Undergraduate Student
Stefanie Miller, Graduate Student
Marianne Verrone, Undergraduate Student
Jeannie Le, Undergraduate Student
Midori Cassou, Undergraduate Student
Beth Nixon, Graduate Student
Monica Martinez, Faculty
Brooke Lamperd, Graduate Student
Ian Pearsall, Undergraduate Student
Eren Can Ileri, Undergraduate Student
Sara Matthiesen, Postdoc
Kareem Estefan, Graduate Student
Cris Martinez, Undergraduate Student
Beverly Haviland, Faculty
Quinn Bernier, Graduate Student
Nina Schield, Undergraduate Student
Hilary Rasch, Graduate Student
Tara Mulder, Alumni
Robyn Schroeder, Post-doctoral fellow
Ralph Rodriguez, Faculty
Mauricio Salgado, Graduate Student
Alexis Green, Graduate Student
Doria Charlson, Graduate Student
John Noble Barrack, Graduate Student
Ken Lumb, Undergraduate Student
Adeline Gorlin, Graduate Student
Cameron Johnson, Undergraduate Student
Elliot Ruggles, Staff
Jack Dwyer, Graduate Student
Anne Gray Fischer, Graduate Student
Caroline Kory, Graduate Student
Colleen Kim Daniher, Postdoctoral Fellow
Bruce Ramphal, Undergraduate Student
Malay Firoz, Graduate Student
Jane'a Johnson, Graduate Student
Vale Cofer-Shabica '09, PhD '18, Graduate Student
Su Chu, Graduate Student
Cameron Neath, Undergraduate Student
Jamie Hansen-Lewis, Graduate Student
Diego A. Millan, Postdoctoral Fellow
Christine Geib-Ayala, Staff
Andrea Vega, Undergraduate Student
Sarah Thomas, Faculty
Bathsheba Demuth, Alumni
Samee Sulaiman, Graduate Student
Christopher S. Kelly, Graduate Student
Jake Kuhn, Undergraduate Student
Lena Milton, Undergraduate Student
Paula Pacheco Soto, Undergraduate Student
Erin Walden, Undergraduate Student
Noah Picard, Undergraduate Student
Becki Marcus, Undergraduate Student
Claire McEwen, Undergraduate Student
Natalie Andrews, Undergraduate Student
Lucy Berman, Undergraduate Student
Mika Zacks, Alumni
Jessica Murphy, Undergraduate Student
Matthew Dwelle, Undergraduate Student
Ellen Taylor, Undergraduate Student
Sylvia Brown, Undergraduate Student
Rachel Rood-Ojalvo, Undergraduate Student
Brendan George, Undergraduate Student
Michael Mills, Undergraduate Student
May Niiya, Undergraduate Student
Joshua Waldman, Undergraduate Student
Jacob Alabab-Moser, Undergraduate Student
Susannah Waldman, Undergraduate Student
chiara arellano, Undergraduate Student
Shira Abramovich, Undergraduate Student
Huayu Ouyang, Undergraduate Student
Tal Frieden, Undergraduate Student
Alexis Gordon, Undergraduate Student
Kevin Hongyi Ouyang, Undergraduate Student
Phoebe Young, Undergraduate Student
Sabrina Edelman, Undergraduate Student
Adam Fertig, Undergraduate Student
Florence Li, Undergraduate Student
Christopher Packs, Undergraduate Student
Devanshi Nishar, Undergraduate Student
Asher Lehrer-Small, Undergraduate Student
Ben Bienstock, Undergraduate Student
Leslie Benavides, Undergraduate Student
Kai Salem, Undergraduate Student
Jessica Kenny, Undergraduate Student
Kelly Carey-Ewend, Undergraduate Student
Ana Marx, Undergraduate Student
Michael Kearney, Undergraduate Student
Michael Becker, Alumni
Andrew Pereira, Staff
Brianna Navarre, Undergraduate Student


*Please see: https://www.brown.edu/academics/libraries/john-carter-brown/fellowships/orientation-book/personal-information

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