Harvard Trustee Tells Student Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigners To “Thank BP”
Divest Harvard to Rally +100 Students, Faculty, and Alumni in Response
Cambridge, MA– On Tuesday morning during negotiations about fossil fuel divestment, Harvard Corporation member Nannerl Keohane suggested that Harvard use its power as an investor to reward companies working for positive change. For example, she said, Harvard could “thank BP” for their investments in renewable energy.
“Ms. Keohane’s recommendation that we ‘thank BP’ shows that the Trustees are out of touch with the reality of the fossil fuel industry,” said Chloe Maxmin, a sophomore student and co-coordinator of Divest Harvard. “Last year BP expanded its offshore drilling operations while closing down solar plants and selling its wind farms. Their activities are worsening the climate crisis and threatening our future– we should be divesting from, not applauding, this behavior.”
The students were in their second meeting with Corporation members Nannerl Keohane and Robert Reischauer. Though 72% of Harvard undergraduates voted to support fossil fuel divestment during a campus-wide referendum last November, the Corporation has continued to decline student demands, citing a “strong presumption against divestment.”
Despite the Corporation’s opposition, students have continued to campaign over the spring semester. On April 11th, they will rally to deliver over 1300 signatures from students and alumni in support of fossil fuel divestment. In response to Keohane’s suggestion, they will also ask President Faust to sign a giant “Thank You” card to BP Corporation to show their gratitude for BP’s oil spills, massive carbon footprint, renewable energy job cuts, and other objectionable activities.
“We imagine that rally turnout will be higher than previously expected, given the Corporation’s outrageous response to our campaign today,” said Akhil Mathew, a junior student involved in Divest Harvard. “The student body has every right to be concerned about Harvard’s investments in fossil fuel companies because these corporations are threatening our futures.”