72% of Harvard Students Vote to Divest School Endowment From Fossil Fuels Companies

Nov 22, 2012 by

TreeHugger


Patricia Drury/CC BY 2.0

It may be a non-binding vote, but it’s a quite telling indication of the state of the modern environmental movement, I think: Last week the Harvard College Undergraduate Council announced that 72% of the school’s students want the university to divest its $30.7 billion endowment from the top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel corporations.

It’s an impressive win for the Divest Harvard campaign, which can also boast being the first student group in six years to get enough support for a referendum question to have it qualify for Harvard student government elections.

Also impressive is that the support in 2012 to pull money from fossil fuel companies far outstripped the support two decades ago for stopping investments in apartheid South Africa. In 1990, only a slim majority of students (52%) supported doing so.

Bill McKibben, a Harvard grad himself and founder of 350.org, which has been pushing organizations to stop investing in fossil fuel companies, commenting on the vote:

Forget the outcome of the Harvard-Yale game, nothing has made me prouder to be a Harvard alum than the news that its students are leading the country in standing up to coal and gas and oil. Let’s hope the Harvard Corporation cares as much about the future.

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