Re “Princeton Divests” in the November issue: The University’s newly adopted policy of dissociating from fossil fuel companies it disagrees with calls to mind the Puritan practice of shunning (The Scarlet Letter, anyone?). But there’s a difference. In Princeton’s case, the shunners continue to benefit from the sins of the shunned. Our trustees will keep driving, flying, heating and cooling their homes, and plastic-wrapping their leftovers — all while ostracizing those whose labors make these amenities possible. They can’t know whether a gallon of gas they buy at the pump originated in a well drilled by Exxon Mobil, which they have decided to shun, or one drilled by BP, Chevron, or Saudi Aramco, which they haven’t (yet). Meanwhile, since Exxon’s (perfectly legal) practices are unlikely to change, the company will continue adding to world supply, making it a tad cheaper for Princeton’s hierarchs and the rest of us. Is the University’s decision to dissociate the definition of hypocrisy, or what? 

Allan Demaree ’58
Rocky River, Ohio