The Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign released a report Wednesday that estimated the University has at least $3 million invested in companies tied to the prison industry and urged administrators to divest all their endowment holdings in such prison-related companies.
University President Lawrence S. Bacow said in an interview Monday an external law firm is assisting the Office of the General Counsel in their review of donations made to Harvard by billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey E. Epstein.
Harvard and more than 30 other colleges and universities jointly submitted their formal opposition to the United States Treasury’s proposed rules for implementing a tax on some universities’ endowments that was originally passed into law in December 2017.
In a presentation of the FAS Dean’s annual report on the school’s finances and hiring, Dean of Administration and Finance Leslie A. Kirwan warned the faculty of “ominous financial signs on the horizon,” including uncertain federal research funding and the endowment tax that took effect this year.
In the wake of University President Lawrence S. Bacow’s comments last week comparing Harvard’s relationship with donors to slavery, several campus organizations and affiliates have called for Bacow to support divestment of the University’s endowment from companies with ties to the prison system.
University President Lawrence S. Bacow used the 13th Amendment as an analogy to compare the University’s wealthy donors to freed slaves Tuesday, the Boston Globe reported Saturday.
The returns were announced in a note from HMC CEO N.P. “Narv” Narvekar to University affiliates Friday morning, and represent the lowest return rate in two years — 2018 saw a 10.1 percent return, while 2017 yielded 8.1 percent. Despite the low rate, the endowment exceeded $40 billion for the first time in its history.
Harvard’s Office of the General Counsel will conduct a review of billionaire donor and convicted sex offender Jeffrey E. Epstein’s donations to the University, Vice President and General Counsel Diane E. Lopez announced in an email to Harvard affiliates Friday afternoon.
‘I Profoundly Regret Harvard's Past Association With Him’: Bacow Announces Univ. Will Donate Unspent Epstein Gifts
"Epstein’s connections as a donor to this University, and other institutions, raise important concerns. With that in mind, two weeks ago I asked for a review of his donations to Harvard. Our decentralization makes such a review more complicated than it would be at some other institutions," Bacow wrote in an email to University affiliates Thursday evening.
Divest Harvard — a group that advocates for the University to withdraw its endowment holdings from the fossil fuel industry — sang songs, read poems, and chanted in front of Elmwood, the University President’s historic residence.
In a statement released last week, Divest Harvard specifically condemned the role Brazilian agribusiness has played in the Amazon fires. The statement noted that the Harvard Management Company — the University’s investing arm — owns 300,000 hectares of land in the Brazilian Cerrado.
Harvard fossil fuel and prison divestment activists launched pledges this week calling on alumni to withhold donations to the University until administrators concede to their demands.