Students sue Harvard over fossil fuel stocks in university’s endowment


Alliance magazine


A group of Harvard students, frustrated by the university’s refusal to shed fossil fuel stocks from its investment portfolios, is looking beyond protests and resolutions to a new form of pressure: the courts.

The seven law students and undergraduates filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in Suffolk County Superior Court in Massachusetts against the president and fellows of Harvard College, among others, for what they call “mismanagement of charitable funds.” The 11-page complaint, with 167 pages of supporting exhibits, asks the court to compel divestment on behalf of the students and “future generations.”

Students at Harvard joined the broader movement for fossil fuel divestment that began two years ago at Swarthmore College. And while some schools have adopted new divestment policies, including Stanford University and Pitzer College, Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s president, has argued that dropping fossil fuel investments is not “warranted or wise.” The university’s endowment, she said, “is a resource, not an instrument to impel social or political change.”

Click here to read the full story by John Schwartz in the New York Times on 19 November.

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