Harvard Heat Week Update: Silent Protest Outside Faust’s Speaking Engagement

Throughout Harvard Heat week, Harvard’s top decision-makers have been hiding from both their students and from the issue of climate justice. They must face the broad, diverse, and growing coalition behind divestment from fossil fuels. We may not all agree on divestment, but surely we can agree about the vital importance of fairly considering every possible tactic to address the climate crisis.

This afternoon President Faust spoke at the first lecture of the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Emerson Hall. We stood in silent protest outside Emerson Hall–not to disrupt or attack the event she was attending, but to confront her with our presence, and by extension, the issue of climate justice. She did not engage in conversation with us.

Tomorrow is Harvard Heat Week’s Student Day. This university must recognize the diverse and significant student support for divestment. We invite all students to be active participants in this movement, and come out to the student rally outside Massachusetts Hall at 10 am on Thursday.

Harvard Heat Week Update: Divest Harvard Successfully Stops Business as Usual at Massachusetts and University Hall

Divest Harvard expanded its blockade early Tuesday morning by blocking administrators’ access to all six entrances of University Hall, while maintaining the currently blockaded three doors of Massachusetts Hall. The blockades aim to further escalate pressure on Harvard to divest from fossil fuel companies by stopping business as usual where the President works.

This escalation comes in the wake of a successful first day of Harvard Heat Week when Divest Harvard shut down Massachusetts Hall with the support of 250 students, alumni, staff and faculty members. Alumni staged their own action at the Harvard Alumni Association’s office, pledging to withhold donations until Harvard divests. Twelve alumni remained there overnight and continue to sit in.

Our goal of disrupting business as usual this morning was absolutely met. Administrators were not able to enter either Massachusetts Hall or University Hall, therefore hearing our message loud and clear. Our momentum on campus is also building – with this morning’s action attracting more than 40 student blockaders, as well as staff members who joined throughout the morning. With this morning’s success, blockaders at University Hall joined Divest Harvard’s morning rally at 10am to bring focus to the effects of climate change on people – specifically people who are bearing the disproportionate burdens of climate change. Divest Harvard will join the Fight for 15 rally later this afternoon, which will include a march in solidarity with some of the workers who will bear those disproportionate burdens.

Harvard Heat Week: Divest Harvard expands action to blockade both Massachusetts and University Hall

Divest Harvard expanded its sit-in early Tuesday morning by blocking administrators’ access to all six entrances of University Hall, while maintaining the currently blockaded three doors of Massachusetts Hall. The blockades aim to further escalate pressure on Harvard to divest from fossil fuels companies by stopping business as usual where the President works.

This escalation comes in the wake of a successful first day of Harvard Heat Week where Divest Harvard shut down Massachusetts Hall with the support of 250 students, alumni, staff and faculty members. Alumni staged their own action at the Harvard Alumni Association’s office, pledging to withhold donations until Harvard divests. Twelve alumni remained there Monday overnight.

Divest Harvard Statement on President Faust’s Climate Panel

Divest Harvard, like Harvard’s administration, recognizes the necessity of varied, creative, and reasoned solutions to the mammoth problem that is climate change. We applaud all that Harvard has done to shed light on the immanent consequences of climate change and the actions they have taken toward solutions. Unfortunately, Harvard has neglected and dismissed one critical tool at their disposal—namely, divestment from fossil fuel companies. This is a tool that combats the political challenges of addressing climate change.

Moreover, the time for discussion alone has passed. As Harvard continues to discuss climate change broadly, morally bankrupt fossil fuel companies disproportionately jeopardize lives in low-income and minority communities, spread climate misinformation, and profit from an extractive business model that science tells us is fundamentally untenable. The time for discussion alone has passed and we urgently need strong action—action that reflects the urgency of this issue, and that addresses the political stagnation perpetuated by the fossil fuel industry. We call on the University to not only seriously engage in discussion about divestment, but to also take the action so clearly available to it.

We hope you will join us after President Faust’s forum for a teach-in and rally focused on divestment. Then, consider joining us for a week of action and civil disobedience calling on Harvard University to stand with its students, faculty, and alumni, and against the corporations that undermine our future. This action alone will not solve the climate crisis. Crucially, however, divestment will create the political space for the solutions—including those the University is so proud to have produced—to be implemented.

Harvard Heat Week Student Call to Action

By students of Divest Harvard:

Tonight Harvard students, faculty, and alumni assembled in peaceful, civil disobedience around Massachusetts Hall to launch Harvard Heat Week – a week of action for fossil fuel divestment. As climate change threatens to become the worst humanitarian crisis that humans have ever faced, we ask all students to join us this week in the movement for climate justice.

Divest Harvard calls on Harvard to immediately divest from major fossil fuel companies. In this historic moment, Harvard confronts a choice that will influence its legacy for hundreds of years. Will it continue to endorse the fossil fuel industry’s destructive practices? Or will it act to ensure a livable future for young people, future generations, already-marginalized communities, and all those on the frontlines of climate chaos?

 

Why escalated action and civil disobedience?

For three years, Divest Harvard has worked to build a movement on campus using a wide range of tactics. Over 230 faculty members, 1100 alumni, and 65,000 community members have signed on to our campaign, and in 2012, 72 percent of college students and 67 percent of law students voted in support of divestment. Our university has met this powerful movement with refusals and silence, and even an order to arrest one of its own students for standing up for his beliefs.

In a sermon last month, President Faust described the need to confront racism and violence in 1954 as “unambiguous”. Eloquently summarizing the urgency of action, she stated that “the compelling nature of what was right appeared both unquestionable and unavoidable.” Today, the fossil fuel industry is undeniably at the root of climate change and of the exploitation of the planet and its people. Prioritizing the future of our Earth over the interests of fossil fuel corporations is equally unquestionable and unavoidable.

 

Why Harvard?

Harvard wields immense social influence. As one of the most well-respected and well-resourced universities in the world, Harvard’s decision to divest would signal that institutions and governments must act boldly and swiftly to address the climate crisis. And as students at Harvard, our voices carry great privilege in this crucial moment. Harvard will not divest if students do not demonstrate our commitment.

That is why we need to act. Hundreds of alumni are joining us in Harvard Yard to lend their voices, support, and bodies to this cause, but it is students’ futures that are at stake. We must be the driving force of this movement, just as we have been in countless movements for social justice in the past.

 

Why now?

We escalate now because the urgency of the climate crisis demands that Harvard use every tool at its disposal to confront climate change. Divest Harvard has campaigned for years with direct actions, rallies, teach-ins, forums, conversations with the administration. Students, faculty, and alumni, have all joined the cause. But even this movement has yet to push Harvard into action. As the world prepares for international climate talks in December and the United States readies for the 2016 presidential election, divestment only grows more critical. Student divestment campaigns across the country have escalated and mobilized this spring out of a shared understanding that business-as-usual is simply untenable for the planet and its people.

 

As Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney wrote:

Once in a lifetime

The longed-for tidal wave

Of justice can rise up,

And hope and history rhyme.

 

Tidal waves of justice do not happen on their own. We create those waves together, and we must demand justice from Harvard. Join us in doing so this spring. There will be many ways to engage with Harvard Heat Week: rallies, teach-ins, artistic expressions, media campaigns, and civil disobedience. Join us and the hundreds who have already committed to take action by signing up at http://harvardheatweek.org/join/.

 

In Solidarity,

Divest Harvard

Harvard Heat Week – Email

Hello,

As you may know, Divest Harvard is planning Harvard Heat Week, a week of action taking place April 12th to the 17th. We write today to clarify our plans in light of the email sent by Dean Lassonde to all College students. We appreciate the administration’s note of support for climate action and want to express that the organizers of this event have been equally concerned about the safety and security of students while planning.

The actions and events that Divest Harvard is planning for the coming week are in no way intended to make students late to class or to disrupt the activities of the general student body.  In fact, our civil disobedience does not target students at all. We are targeting the administration and the Harvard Corporation because they have the authority to divest Harvard’s endowment from fossil fuels.

This action will be peaceful and civil. All participants are taking part in direct action trainings and pledging to be respectful and nonviolent. Like the administration, we are committed to the safety and security of our community. Furthermore, we should clarify that most of the people who will be coming to Cambridge to participate in Heat Week are alumni and other non-student members of the Harvard community. These people are returning to an institution they have a stake in because they feel that they have a responsibility to make it better, and we invite all current Harvard students who feel the same way to join us in the coming week.

We look forward to seeing you!

– Divest Harvard

Teach-In on April 6th!

Have you heard?! Divest Harvard is getting ready for Harvard Heat Week (www.harvardheatweek.org), a week of action and civil disobedience for fossil fuel divestment from April 12th-17th.

Have you at some point wondered: why is Divest Harvard sitting in that building? What would divestment even accomplish? What is climate justice, and how does it relate to racial, economic, and gender justice?

Never fear! We’re holding a teach-in/Q&A so that we can answer ALL of your questions, clarify misunderstandings, and share experiences. Come ask your questions; we want to hear your perspective!  (There will be snacks.)

When: Monday April 6th from 5-6 pm

Where: Ticknor Lounge

RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/343615805831645/

Harvard Heat Week: Student Call to Action

Cross-posted from Huffington Post

By students of Divest Harvard:

From April 13 to 17, Harvard students, faculty, and alumni will assemble in Harvard Yard for Harvard Heat Week, a week of action for fossil fuel divestment. As climate change threatens to become the worst humanitarian crisis that humans have ever faced, we ask all students to join us in the movement for climate justice.

Divest Harvard calls on Harvard to immediately divest from major fossil fuel companies. In this historic moment, Harvard confronts a choice that will influence its legacy for hundreds of years. Will it continue to endorse the fossil fuel industry’s destructive practices? Or will it act to ensure a livable future for young people, future generations, already-marginalized communities, and all those on the frontlines of climate chaos?

Why escalated action and civil disobedience?

For three years, Divest Harvard has worked to build a movement on campus using a wide range of tactics. Over 230 faculty members, 1100 alumni, and 65,000 community members have signed on to our campaign, and in 2012, 72 percent of college students and 67 percent of law students voted in support of divestment. Our university has met this powerful movement with refusals and silence, and even an order to arrest one of its own students for standing up for his beliefs.

In a sermon this month, President Faust described the need to confront racism and violence in 1954 as “unambiguous”. Eloquently summarizing the urgency of action, she stated that “the compelling nature of what was right appeared both unquestionable and unavoidable.” Today, the fossil fuel industry is undeniably at the root of climate change and of the exploitation of the planet and its people. Prioritizing the future of our Earth over the interests of fossil fuel corporations is equally unquestionable and unavoidable.

Why Harvard?

Harvard wields immense social influence. As one of the most well-respected and well-resourced universities in the world, Harvard’s decision to divest would signal that institutions and governments must act boldly and swiftly to address the climate crisis. And as students at Harvard, our voices carry great privilege in this crucial moment. Harvard will not divest if students do not demonstrate our commitment.

That is why we need to act. Although hundreds of alumni will come to Harvard Yard in April and lend their voices, support, and bodies to this cause, it is students’ futures that are at stake. We must be the driving force of this movement, just as we have been in countless movements for social justice in the past.

Why now?

We escalate this spring because the urgency of the climate crisis demands that Harvard use every tool at its disposal to confront climate change. Divest Harvard has campaigned for years with direct actions, rallies, teach-ins, forums, conversations with the administration. Students, faculty, and alumni, have all joined the cause. But even this movement has yet to push Harvard into action. As the world prepares for international climate talks in December and the United States readies for the 2016 presidential election, divestment only grows more critical. Student divestment campaigns across the country are escalating and mobilizing together this spring out of a shared understanding that business-as-usual is simply untenable for the planet and its people.

As Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney wrote:

Once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

Tidal waves of justice do not happen on their own. We create those waves together, and we must demand justice from Harvard. Join us in doing so this spring. There will be many ways to engage with Harvard Heat Week: rallies, teach-ins, artistic expressions, media campaigns, and civil disobedience. Join us and the hundreds who have already committed to take action by signing up at http://harvardheatweek.org/join/.

In Solidarity,
Divest Harvard

Announcing Harvard Heat Week

We’ve spent the past three years organizing for justice, mobilizing students, and escalating our campaign. Last week, Divest Harvard escalated with a 24-hour sit in outside President Drew Faust’s office in Mass Hall. Today, we are announcing Harvard Heat Week.  This morning a group of prominent alumni–including Natalie Portman, Cornel West, Bill McKibben, Darren Aronofsky, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and many more–stood with students when they called for others to join us for a week of action happening April 13-18th in Harvard Yard. Read the letter and sign up to join us, then SHARE the news: www.HarvardHeatWeek.org