On Friday, October 23rd, students of Divest Harvard are standing in silent protest outside and inside an event that is part of the class of 1970’s 45th reunion. This event is an opportunity for alumni to participate in a conversation with President Drew G. Faust and Harvard treasurer Paul G. Finnegan. This conversation immediately follows an alumni panel entitled “The Heat Is On: Science, Politics, and Economics in the Climate Change Era.” Divest Harvard is excited about this panel, which includes our direct supporters, because it echoes the intensity we have brought to campus conversations about the need to address climate justice in our conversations about solutions. Even as this panel stimulates important conversations on Harvard’s campus, however, Harvard continues to profit from its investment in the fossil fuel industry. These investments are minute in the context of Harvard’s $37.6 billion endowment, but represent a continued complicity in the destructive and exploitative activities of the fossil fuel industry.
At this Friday’s discussion, President Faust and Treasurer Finnegan are making themselves available to alumni to answer questions about how they choose to run this University. Included in such operational matters are concerns about the endowment. In light of their continued failure to recognize the University’s moral and intellectual responsibility to divest its endowment from fossil fuels, we, along with alumni, feel it is our duty to show up at this event in the hopes of forcing the decision-makers and alumni in the room to confront the moral inconsistency of our University’s stated commitment to climate solutions and continued investment in the fossil fuel industry. Our presence outside and inside of this event is to once again remind University decision makers and the larger Harvard community that we cannot be a leader on climate change solutions while we profit from climate injustice.