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In an open letter posted online early Friday morning, more than two dozen alumni called for fellow University graduates to gather in Harvard Yard for the protest that organizers are calling “Harvard Heat Week.”
Divest Harvard aims to launch a fossil fuel-free fund to which alumni can donate as an alternative to the University’s endowment, according to the group’s announcement from earlier this month.
Six of the seven student plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit last week that seeks to compel the University to “immediately withdraw” its holdings from fossil fuel companies discussed their case on Tuesday.
The 11-page complaint claims that investment in fossil fuel companies is “a breach of [the University’s] fiduciary and charitable duties as a public charity and nonprofit corporation.”
Harvard’s small surplus is a move into the black after recent years of deficits large and small. The progress was largely fueled by the first public year of fundraising for the Harvard Campaign.
Harvard's endowment was outperformed by the average institution according to an study of 426 schools by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute.
Professor Stephen A. Marglin ’59 said that Harvard’s divestiture would not cause fossil fuel companies to collapse, but could set an example for other institutions that might be waiting to follow Harvard’s lead.
Dozens of members of the Harvard community will not be swiping into dining halls this week as they participate in Divest Harvard’s week-long fast.
Blyth, who is currently a managing director and head of public markets at HMC as well as a professor of statistics, will assume the role Jan. 1, 2015.
The investment gains leave Harvard’s endowment just short of its $36.9 billion peak, which was reached in June of 2008, before the global financial crisis.