FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2016 at 8 P.M. EST
Contact: Naima Drecker-Waxman, (917) 692-7716
STUDENTS MEET WITH HARVARD CORPORATION, URGING DIVESTMENT
Cambridge, MA – On Thursday morning members of Divest Harvard are meeting with members of the Harvard Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (CCSR).
Last spring, 4 members of Divest Harvard, Adam Vander Tuig, Naima Drecker-Waxman, Ben Franta, and Rory Stewart, sat in at the Harvard Management Company offices in downtown Boston to protest the Harvard Management Company’s recent decision to become an anchor investor in a fund to refinance failing fossil fuel companies. Members of the group and their supporters held a two hour-long rally outside the building as students who sat in were arrested. Divest Harvard had requested a meeting with then-HMC President and CEO Stephen Blyth to discuss the investment. Shortly after these four students were arrested at HMC offices, the administration granted Divest Harvard a meeting with members of the CCSR.
The meeting is taking place Thursday, October 13th at 11 A.M. in Wadsworth Hall. Senior Sidni Frederick, junior Naima Drecker-Waxman, and sophomore Isa Flores-Jones will be representing Divest Harvard in this newest meeting after a series of meetings throughout the campaign.
“We hope that this meeting will be a chance for Harvard to make its first steps towards holding the fossil fuel industry accountable for its role in causing climate change and lobbying against climate legislation,” said Drecker-Waxman. “Given the urgency of climate change, it is time for Harvard to not only divest from these companies but also reinvest in renewables and climate solutions.”
Divest Harvard is part of a global movement for fossil fuel divestment. Just before the Paris climate talks, divestment commitments passed $3.4 trillion. Since the talks, the University of Massachusetts system, the City of Berlin, and Amalgamated Bank have all joined the over 500 institutions committed to divestment. These commitments come at a time when major governments like the European Union, India, and China are all ratifying the Paris agreement.
The Paris Agreement aims to limit average global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. According to a recent report from Oil Change International, limiting warming to 2°C means no new fossil fuel extraction or exploration. In light of this, Divest Harvard is urging Harvard to take a first step towards full divestment from fossil fuel companies by ending their investments in coal.
“Any entity that remains invested in fossil fuels is jeopardizing our collective future. As students, as community members, and as global citizens, we’re holding Harvard accountable. And we’re not going away any time soon,” said Flores-Jones.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2015 at 10 a.m. EST
Contact: Jasmine Opie, (508) 367-9366
STUDENTS HOLD SIT-IN AT HARVARD PRESIDENT’S OFFICE, URGING DIVESTMENT
CAMBRIDGE, MA — On Thursday morning, 34 supporters of the Divest Harvard campaign entered Harvard’s Massachusetts Hall and refused to leave.
The students are occupying the building, which houses the offices of President Drew Faust and other members of the Harvard Administration, in order to ask that Harvard divest its $36.5 billion endowment from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies.
“By investing in the fossil fuel industry, Harvard undermines its intellectual and moral integrity,” said Harvard undergraduate and sit-in participant Canyon Woodward ‘15. “It is a sad irony that Harvard funds its researchers by ignoring the implications of their findings.”
The sit-in action is also taking place in support of Global Divestment Day, which will occur on Feb. 13 and 14.
“By investing in fossil fuel companies, Harvard jeopardizes the future of its students and the world,” added Sima Atri, a third-year student at Harvard Law School. “Our action today is not just about climate change, but about larger issues of injustice. We refuse to stay silent as Harvard profits from business practices that are causing disproportionate harms on already marginalized communities.”
The Divest Harvard campaign, now two years active, is part of a growing movement. On more than 500 campuses across the United States, students and faculty have organized to demand that their endowments divest from fossil fuels. At Harvard, too, the movement grows. In the Harvard Undergraduate Council elections of November, 2012, 2,561 Harvard undergraduates voted in favor of a referendum expressing support for divestment; of the 55 percent of undergraduates who voted on the referendum, 72 percent voted yes. As of November, 2014, 1,031 Harvard alumni and 213 Harvard faculty have signed petitions asking the University to divest its endowment from the fossil fuel industry.
Despite student, faculty, and alumni opinion, the Harvard Administration has repeatedly refused requests for open debate on divestment, holding meetings with trustees behind closed doors and making public statements that dismiss student concerns about the dangerous political influence of fossil fuel corporations. On May 1, 2014, supporters of the Divest Harvard campaign organized a blockade of Massachusetts Hall in an attempt to win an open meeting with Harvard trustees to discuss fossil fuel divestment. The trustees declined to meet, and the Harvard University Police Department dispersed the blockade. Harvard undergraduate Brett Roche, ‘15, was arrested.
“It’s immoral for Harvard not to do everything in its power to address climate change,” said Rory Stewart, a Harvard graduate student and sit-in participant. “By not divesting, it’s showing that the interest in the University endowment is strictly for financial gain and not for its own future, the future of its students, and the future of our planet.”
Harvard currently holds $79.5 million in the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies. Supporters of the Divest Harvard Campaign, both inside and outside of Massachusetts Hall, ask that Harvard reduce those holdings to zero.
“We will be disruptive. We will disrupt university operations just as the act of not divesting is disrupting our future,” said Annie Schugart, a Harvard undergraduate student and sit-in participant. “We feel obligated to be disruptive for as long as it takes to achieve divestment, for the sake of our future.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2014
CONTACT: Ben Franta, email@example.com, 319-899-9820
Harvard Undergraduate Arrested As Students Blockade the President’s Office Calling for An Open Dialogue on Fossil Fuel Divestment
Cambridge, MA–Harvard junior Brett Roche was arrested early Thursday morning while participating in a seven-person blockade of Harvard University President Drew Faust’s office. The blockade was an attempt to win an open meeting with Harvard trustees to discuss fossil fuel divestment.
This was the first arrest for the growing fossil fuel divestment movement, which has spread to over 500 campuses, cities, and religious institutions across the globe.
“The administration of Harvard University would rather arrest their own students and have police force us out of the way than speak to us civilly about this important issue,” said Ted Hamilton, a first-year student at Harvard Law School who risked arrest in the blockade. Student have repeatedly requested a public meeting with President Faust and trustees about divestment, but they have refused thus far.
Six students began blockading the main entrance to President Faust’s office on Wednesday morning, forcing high-level administrators to enter through side doors. On Thursday morning the students, joined by Harvard alumnus Bob Massie and Harvard’s Quaker chaplain John Bach, moved to block all entrances to the building, prompting the arrest.
“Today I want to thank Divest Harvard for giving me the chance to be the person who I purport to be–a person who gives a damn,” said John Bach, Quaker chaplain at Harvard’s Memorial Church
While the other blockaders were not arrested, the Harvard College Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde warned students on Wednesday that they will face disciplinary action from the administration
Over 50,000 people have signed online petitions supporting Harvard students in their call for fossil fuel divestment. Tomorrow, Divest Harvard and student, faculty and alumni supporters will deliver the petition signatures to the administration at 12:00pm at Massachusetts Hall in Harvard Yard.
For two years, students, faculty, and alumni with the Divest Harvard campaign have been calling on administrators to divest Harvard’s $31 billion endowment from the top 200 fossil fuel companies. Over 100 faculty recently sent a letter to President Drew Faust urging her to support divestment.
Past Press Releases
- After Public Confrontation, Harvard Vice President Reluctantly Accepts +1300 Signatures for Fossil Fuel Divestment
- Harvard Trustee Tells Student Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigners To “Thank BP”
- Harvard Corporation Members To Continue Discussion On Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Activists Leave Hard-Won Meeting with Promise to Continue Negotiations in Near Future
- Speaking at Alma Mater, Al Gore Announces Support for Fossil Fuel Divestment