By Theodore Weiss and Sam Pfeifer
We’re here to acknowledge a misstep.
Last week, we published an article that called out Mr. Jack Wold, who currently sits on the Board of Trustees. Mr. Wold is also the CEO of Wold Energy Partners.
We don’t think it was a moral misstep, but a procedural one. We failed to tame our passions about climate change, Colorado College, and corporate sustainability prior to publishing our editorial last week. We assumed intentions and made value judgements about a person we’ve never met. We think we should not have published the article, and we openly admit it. Most importantly, we should have contacted Mr. Wold prior to publishing it.
We do, however, believe that there is a more educational, informative, and objective way to highlight the philosophical conflict of interest between Colorado College’s Carbon Neutral Policy and Mr. Wold’s dual role as a College Trustee and an oil executive.
But we didn’t do it. We were lazy, rash, and unfair.
But we don’t think we were wrong.
We do not believe, in any way, that somebody like a Trustee is exempt from criticism simply because they practice philanthropy. Ever.
This exploration started with no relation to Mr. Wold. It started with a passionate hope to bring greater transparency to our Board of Trustees. The fact still remains; there is no information — no biography or term length — available to students about the individuals who graciously serve on our board.
What seems to be the most striking about this decision still must be contextualized. If you go to the website of almost any like-minded, rigorous liberal arts college, you will find something different.
Take the Williams College website, for example. Board members have hyperlinks attached to their names where you can read, in depth, the active roles they have played as alumni and as trustees. Moreover, bios include information about their professional career paths.
Whether or not Williams students are interested in learning more about Trustees, the information is readily available.
We do not know why Colorado College has not done this as well. Contrary to last week, though, we will not continue to assume the worst. Rather, we hope to call on our institution to take steps toward doing the same.
In complete transparency, we got feedback about our last article from an alumnus, and friend of Jack wold’s who happened to read the paper that week. We greatly appreciate his message for calling us out when obviously we did not do our job to the best of our ability. We are grateful.
This incident highlights another issue as well. The only student that reached out to us in regard to the article was Lily Weissgold, the current student on the Board of Trustees. The majority of students we talked to in the last week were unaware of the article on Mr. Wold.
We are not reaching our main target demographic to the extent that we would like, and we want to do better. We hope to begin a greater community discussion about the role of The Catalyst on campus. Our job is to, hopefully, help change the status quo where it is needed. The purpose of our work is to help ignite debate among students and in our community. We want to do the best job we can, and right now, we don’t think we are, but we’re prepared to do better.