Harvard Students and Prominent Alumni Call for Week of Civil Disobedience this April to Push for Fossil Fuel Divestment

Join Natalie Portman for Harvard Civil Disobedience

Harvard Students and Prominent Alumni Call for Week of Civil Disobedience this April to Push for Fossil Fuel Divestment

Harvard Students and Prominent Alumni Call for Week of Civil Disobedience this April to Push for Fossil Fuel Divestment

A group of prominent Harvard alumni, including director Darren Aronofsky, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., architect Maya Lin, environmental author Bill McKibben, actress Natalie Portman, author Cornel West, and former US Senator Tim Wirth, are calling for a week of sit-ins at Harvard to push the administration to divest from fossil fuels

“We write in hopes that you might come to Cambridge for a couple of days this spring to join in the fight against global warming—in particular, to help students press our alma mater to divest its stock in the fossil fuel industry,” write the alumni, in a letter released online this Friday morning.

The Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign is an effort to convince institutions like universities, churches, and pension funds to sell their shares in the 200 fossil fuel companies that own the most coal, oil and gas reserves. Launched in 2012, the campaign has spread to over 500 colleges and universities and hundreds of religious institutions around the world. Nearly 200 institutions, representing more than $50 billion in capital, have made a divestment commitment, including cities like Seattle and San Francisco and universities like Stanford.

Harvard has so far resisted demands to divest from fossil fuels, despite overwhelming support on campus. Instead, reports show the university has actually increased its investments in fossil fuels.

“Those students have done a remarkable job in garnering overwhelming student support for divestment, and the faculty too have delivered a strong message,” write the alumni. “But so far the Corporation has not just refused to divest, they’ve doubled down by announcing the decision to buy stock in some of the dirtiest energy companies on the planet.”

Divest Harvard, the student group leading divestment efforts on campus, welcomed alumni support.

“We are turning up the heat this semester with the help of students, faculty, and alumni because we want to see Harvard align its investments with its values,” said Naima Drecker-Waxman, with Divest Harvard. “Divesting from fossil fuels now is a chance to put Harvard on the right side of history–it’s time for our institution to say injustice is not an investment.”

Harvard Heat Week will begin with a teach-in on campus, then be followed with daily sit-ins in front of administrative offices in Massachusetts Hall, and conclude with a major rally on campus. Organizers are inviting alumni to take part in “highly civil” civil disobedience and encouraging participants to wear their Harvard paraphernalia:

“We realize that a trip to Cambridge is asking a lot, and that for those willing to sit politely down in front of Mass Hall the outcome is uncertain. But if anyone is to be led away by the University Police, surely it’s easier for those of us with stable and secure lives than for students at the start of their careers.”

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