Midd Students Pull A Yes Men
What’s the most effective way to pressure an organization into changing their position? Impersonate that organization announcing a policy shift. It’s a practice utilized by the “Yes Men,” who famously posed as Dow Chemical taking full responsibility for a lethal gas leak in Bhopal, India and promising reparations.
Here’s the video, recently referenced by The Atlantic Wire as the creme de la creme of news interview pranks:
Following their lead, a group of five Middlebury students produced a fake press release in coordination with the Dalai Lama’s visit, claiming that college would honor the Nobel Peace Prize winner by divesting from companies that deal in defense or have irresponsible environmental practices:
Vermont Public Radio covered the incident, bringing additional context:
“A study by the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute and the Tellus Institute released last spring observes that the percentage of universities that say they apply any social-responsible criteria to their endowment investments declined from 21% in 2009 to 18% in 2011.
The study found that investments by colleges and universities based on environmental, social and corporate governance considerations has fallen off since the 1960s and 1970s and is fairly narrow in scope – for example divesting of tobacco stocks.”
They go on to explain that the third party handling of investments leads to a lack of transparency. Midd’s investments are handled by Investure, which also lists Trinity as a client.
The students, who have since revealed their identities and expanded on the reasoning behind their caper , may now face disciplinary actions–in good company. The Yes Men are being sued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for a stunt you can see below, in a special edition of their 2009 documentary ‘The Yes Men Fix The World’: