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Harvard climate activists continue divestment campaign by occupying a building

It’s been going on for years

Climate change activists at Harvard University on Friday continued their ongoing bid to force the university to divest from fossil fuels, occupying a campus building and claiming that their movement “will not rest” until the university dumps all of its investments in non-renewable energy.

Environmental activists have been staging protests and demonstrations on the storied campus for years, including such theatrical displays as mock oil spills, shutting down speeches by the university president and bringing football games to a halt.

Divestment has at times seemed broadly unpopular at the university. One divestment petition in 2018 garnered less than four-tenths of one percent of the support of the university community. Yet activists have continued to push for the measure, and as The Harvard Crimson reported on Friday, they most recently occupied the school’s University Hall, holding their position for about an hour.

The activists said the school had until April 22, or Earth Day, to meet their demands:

“Every day until then and every single day after, if you do not listen, we’ll keep coming back to make our call: disclose, divest, or this movement will not rest!” [Divest Harvard member Joseph] Winters said.

Inside the administrative building, organizers handed out packets with poems about divestment and statements from Harvard faculty in support of their cause.

“When our air is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back,” the group chanted.

“Harvard, step off it, put people over profit,” they added.

Protesters took turns reading statements from the packet, including a statement of support from Philosophy Department Chair Edward J. Hall and a poem entitled “Earthrise” by inaugural U.S. youth poet laureate Amanda S. C. Gorman ’20.

The school’s president, Lawrence Bacow, said last week that the Harvard Corporation “will give [divestment] the thought and consideration it deserves.” The Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted earlier this month that Harvard should divest from fossil fuel companies.

Read the report here.

MORE: Harvard climate activists protest ‘destruction of planet’ in front of president’s house

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