Students protest at a Board of Trustees meeting on March 23.

Cornell CFO Cancels Meeting with Climate Group After Learning of Plans to Demand Fossil Fuel Divestment

Joanne DeStefano, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, canceled her planned meeting with Climate Justice Cornell to draft steps toward a more sustainable campus after learning that the group intended to present a series of demands to her. Although DeStefano herself encouraged CJC members to set up the meeting, she canceled the gathering after reading a copy of the meeting agenda attached to an email to meeting attendees by Elizabeth Chi ’18, ex-campaign coordinator of CJC. “I agreed to this meeting as a courtesy to share our policies and to help you to understand the Board of Trustees’ position regarding divestment,” DeStefano wrote to Chi in an email, adding, “I must say that I am extremely disappointed to learn that your purpose for the meeting is to make a series of demands.”

The group used the word “demand” in its agenda as indication of some of its priorities and goals, according to Jenny Xie ’20, a member of the financial task force for CJC. “My stomach dropped as soon as I read the email,” said Julie Kapuvari ’19, CJC member. “We had been preparing for weeks.