Ten Stories That Shaped 2020

The past twelve months were a year like no other for Harvard and the world. Under the backdrop of a once-in-a-century pandemic, students took classes from all over the globe, while pushing for social change at the University and on the political stage. Here, The Crimson reviews ten stories that defined 2020 at Harvard.

Divestment Movement Wins Some, Loses Some

Harvard’s long-lived divestment movement this year gained powerful allies among the faculty and placed supporters in the upper echelons of University leadership, but its ultimate goal pushing the University to completely divest from fossil fuel companies remains unfulfilled.

Freshman Divest Rally 2

A student makes a sign at a Divest Harvard rally in front of Widener Library.

Freshmen Rally for Divest Harvard Movement

The rally was organized by freshmen who are members of the student group Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard to re-emphasize the group’s commitment to the movement, even during the pandemic.

Harvard and HPDC Attorneys Square Off Over Prison Investments in Lawsuit Oral Arguments

Attorneys and activists squared off in state court on Tuesday over Harvard’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the University by the Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign.

Panelists Talk Climate Change, Racial Justice and COVID-19 in Inaugural HAA Climate Conversation

Harvard alumni and climate activists identified three central challenges facing the world today — the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and systemic racism — in the Harvard Alumni Association’s inaugural “Climate Conversation” event Wednesday afternoon.

Divestment Groups Cheer Harvard Forward Victories in Overseers Election

For over a decade, student groups have worked to advance fossil fuel divestment at Harvard by meeting with University presidents and holding demonstrations in Harvard Yard. Now three of their own will sit on the University’s second-highest governing body.

Current and Former Harvard Alumni Association Leaders Criticize Harvard Forward’s Board of Overseers Campaign

A group of alumni volunteers — including past and present members of the Harvard Alumni Association’s Executive Committee — penned a letter to other alumni criticizing tactics employed by the group Harvard Forward in this year’s Board of Overseers’ election.

Divest Harvard and Harvard Forward Convene To Discuss Harvard’s Responsibility to a World in Crisis

As protests against police brutality unfolded in the middle of a global pandemic that has claimed over 373,000 lives globally, representatives of Divest Harvard and Harvard Forward convened a livestreamed discussion Sunday afternoon.

Harvard Medical School Faculty Pen Letter to President Bacow Expressing Disappointment with Endowment Decision

Roughly 170 members of the Harvard Medical School faculty and their supporters sent a letter to University President Lawrence S. Bacow on Sunday criticizing the school’s plan to commit its $40.9 billion endowment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Yale Forward Launches ‘Sister Campaign' Promoting Climate-Focused Trustee Candidate

Following in the footsteps of a successful petition campaign by Harvard Forward, Yale Forward — a student and alumni group working to bring attention to climate change and alumni representation within the school’s governance boards — launched their campaign to elect 2015 alum Maggie Thomas to the Yale Corporation Wednesday.

Divest Harvard Calls University’s Carbon-Neutral Endowment Commitment 'Insufficient'

Divest Harvard, a student group calling on the University to divest from the fossil fuel industry, argues that Harvard’s commitment to making its endowment carbon-neutral by 2050 falls short of achieving their goal of total withdrawal from the industry.

Harvard Endowment Commits to Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050

The Harvard Management Company has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, University President Lawrence S. Bacow wrote in a message to faculty Tuesday afternoon.

Harvard Faculty Mixed on Carbon-Neutral Endowment Commitment

Though most faculty members support the University’s commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its endowment by 2050, they are divided over whether the plan — announced on Tuesday — goes far enough.

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