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Harvard Students Appeal Fossil Fuel Divestment Case

Students from Harvard University have continued their legal fight, which aims to force Harvard University to divest its endowments from fossil fuel investments.

A group of Harvard University students, the Harvard Climate Justice Coalition, have been fighting a long-running battle to legally force their university to divest itself from investing in fossil fuel investments. The last time we checked in with the battle, the Harvard Corporation, representing the University, successfully got the Massachusetts trial court to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the students.

Harvard-2However, on October 5, the students filed an appeals brief with the Massachusetts Appeals Court, which included backing from climate scientist James Hansen and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, as well as the full backing of the City of Cambridge, home to Harvard University. Specifically, the Cambridge City Council voted unanimously to support the lawsuit, endorsing the legal action and further calling on Harvard University to divest from oil, gas, and coal, stating that “the City Council fully supports [the action] and wishes to join in support of the suit.”

“It’s amazing to have the City of Cambridge, Harvard’s own hometown, throw its support behind our lawsuit,” said Ted Hamilton, a law student. “This shows that many people support us and that Harvard owes it to the public to divest from fossil fuels.”

“Harvard University cannot choose profits over the protection of the environment,” said Stephen Wells, ALDF Executive Director. “It makes no sense for one of the leading universities in the world to claim to advance its mission by supporting an industry that contributes to the destruction of our environment. ALDF will continue to push for Harvard’s disinvestment in fossil fuels because it is the right and the only thing to do.”

The Harvard Climate Justice Coalition argues that Harvard’s investment in fossil fuel-related investments is harming students and future generations, subsequently violating the University’s own public charitable and other legal duties.

Image Credit: Harvard Climate Justice Coalition


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