Campus Reform | Harvard University meeting with students to discuss divestment from oil industry

Harvard University meeting with students to discuss divestment from oil industry

Administrators at Harvard University say they will soon meet students to discuss divestment of the school’s $30.7 million endowment from all industries involved in the production of fossil fuel energy.

A spokesperson for Harvard University said the school is meeting with students to discuss divesting from industries involved in the production of fossil fuels.

University spokesman Kevin Galvin informed Campus Reform via email on Thursday of administrators’ plans, explaining that members of an official university body would meet with a student group calling for such divestment.

“Members of the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility will meet with students this semester to discuss endowment investment policies and the students’ concerns regarding fossil fuels,” said Galvin.

Galvin added that Harvard does operate with a "strong presumption against divestment" from any industry.

Joseph Lanzillo, communications manager for Divest Harvard, the main student group spearheading the campaign, told Campus Reform on Thursday, however, he is optimistic officials will eventually opt for divestment.

“Eventually they will realize that’s what they need to do,” he said. “We are definitely hopeful.”

Lanzillo added the movement enjoys discrete support from several prominent members of the faculty and alumni.

The move to meet students to discuss divestment comes after Harvard's students became the first in the country to approve a referendum last semester demanding divestment.

In particular, Divest Harvard is demanding divestment from the top 200 publicly traded companies, that own a majority of the world’s fossil fuel reserves.

“[W]hile investing in our future, Harvard simultaneously invests its money in corporations that threaten our future and that of our country by causing the climate crisis,” reads a statement on DivestHarvard.com.

The group alleges the effects of manmade global warming have already been demonstrated through the power of Hurricane Sandy and the wildfires that raged through Colorado last year.

“Unless we act quickly, the lives of millions – if not billions – of people will be lost,” warns the group on their website.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect additional statements from Harvard University.