Bowdoin Community For the Removal of Jes Staley from the Board of Trustees

Bowdoin Community For the Removal of Jes Staley from the Board of Trustees

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Bowdoin Labor Alliance started this petition to Bowdoin College

Content warning: This petition references sexual assault and violence. It contains no graphic language. 

In 2019, Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees opened an investigation into Bowdoin Trustee James “Jes” Staley’s close relationship with notorious sex trafficker and pedophile Jefferey Epstein; the trustees concluded that Staley’s conduct and close ties to Epstein did not constitute grounds for removal.

Though the Board expresses that it “takes seriously… the character and judgment of its members,” Staley’s continued membership on the Board communicates a different reality. Staley maintained a relationship with Epstein even after he was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Staley also twice visited Epstein’s private island where Epstein trafficked hundreds of young girls. President Rose has stated that, “sexual and gender-based misconduct, sexual and gender-based discrimination, and sexual and gender-based harassment will not be tolerated at Bowdoin.” Staley’s behavior shows that he not only tolerates sexual assault but enables it by looking the other way..   

This is not the only instance in which Staley’s actions blatantly violate the mission of Bowdoin College. In 2016, England’s Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority fined Staley 642,000 Euros for suppressing whistleblowers at Barclays, the bank where Staley has served as the chief executive since 2013. Additionally, Barclays Bank is currently Europe’s largest financier of the fossil fuel industry, lending approximately $120 billion between 2016 and 2019.

It is shameful that Bowdoin’s Board unanimously decided that there was “nothing in Jes Staley’s actions or behavior that warranted the board taking any action,” a decision that ignored the voices of the Bowdoin community.  It is shameful that President Rose has stated that Staley, “represents all that is great about Bowdoin and the culture and the values here.” We are struggling to maintain trust in an administration supposedly committed to the common good when they refuse to hold Staley accountable for his clear violations of Bowdoin’s mission.

Serving on Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees is an honor and a position imbued with considerable power over our school. Bowdoin’s website states that the Board “has fiduciary responsibility for the governance of the College, in particular the health, vibrance, and ability to satisfy our mission.” Staley’s decision to maintain and relationship with Epstein and his illegal suppression of whistleblowers suggests poor judgment and a compromised moral compass. Given Staley’s history, we have little faith in his ability to uphold the college’s mission—a mission that includes zero-tolerance of sexual assault, a staunch commitment to free speech, and a commitment to environmental stewardship.  

For these reasons we, the undersigned students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members, are calling for Jes Staley’s removal from Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees. 

*While we are grateful for all support,  please only sign if you are a Bowdoin student, alumni, faculty, staff, parent or live in Brunswick*

If you are seeking additional support or resources related to sexual assault, you can contact the Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine. SASSMM Helpline: 1-800-871-7741. You can access additional resources at https://www.sassmm.org/ 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
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