Support continues to grow for AG divestment complaint

Nearly 120 call on Harvard to cease its financial embrace of climate destruction

Divest Harvard
5 min readApr 13, 2021

On March 15, Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard and a number of other members of the Harvard community filed a complaint with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, asserting that Harvard’s fossil fuel investments aren’t just immoral, but illegal. Today, nearly 30 additional signatories join the complaint, as momentum builds for an end to institutional complicity in the climate crisis.

Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard is a movement that believes that if it’s wrong to destroy the planet, it’s wrong to invest in that destruction.

The complaint—which is not a lawsuit, but rather a call for the AG to investigate the matter— argues that by investing an estimated $838 million in the fossil fuel industry, Harvard is violating its obligations under MA law. Specifically, the laws of the commonwealth state that Harvard must invest consider charitable purpose in investments, invest with prudence, and invest with loyalty — goals clearly undermined by investment in an industry that’s sought to mislead the public, attack scholars (including Harvard’s own), cover up the reality of fossil fuels’ financial peril, and more. The document, which is now in the hands of AG Healey, has the potential to set a precedent that could echo nationwide.

The updated list of signatories can be found below.

The following is the updated list of signatories for the complaint filed 3/15/21. The complaint text can be found here.

Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard

Elected Officials

State Representative Nika Elugardo, MA 15th Suffolk (HKS ‘04)
State Representative Erika Uyterhoeven, MA 27th Suffolk (HBS ‘19)
Councilor Katjana Ballantyne, Ward 3, City of Somerville
Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen, Ward 3, City of Somerville (GSAS ‘14)
Councilor Dennis Carlone, City of Cambridge (GSD ‘76)
Councilor Wilfred Mbah, At-Large, City of Somerville
Councilor and former Mayor Marc McGovern, City of Cambridge
Councilor Mark Niedergang, Ward 5, City of Somerville
Councilor Patricia M. Nolan, City of Cambridge (HCOL ‘80)
Councilor Emily Norton, Ward 2, City of Newton (HKS ‘95)
Councilor Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, City of Cambridge
Councilor Kristen Strezo, At-Large, City of Somerville (EXT ‘ 15)
Councilor Quinton Zondervan, City of Cambridge
Councilor Michelle Wu, At-Large, City of Boston (HCOL ’07, HLS ‘12)

Climate Science and Policy Community

Dr. Philip G. Alston, John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law, New York University and former UN Special Rapporteur
Dr. Benjamin Franta, Stanford University, Director of Accountability Research, Climate Social Science Network (GSAS ‘16)
Dr. James E. Hansen, Director, Climate Science and Awareness Program, Earth Institute, Columbia University
Dr. John Harte, Professor of the Graduate School in the Department of Environmental Science, University of California, Berkeley (HCOL ‘61)
Dr. Jonathan T. Isham, Jr., Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, Middlebury College (HCOL ‘82)
Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford University
Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, founder and CEO, Ocean Collectiv (HCOL ‘02)
Dr. Peter Kalmus, Climate Scientist, NASA JPL (HCOL ‘97)
Dr. Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy, University of California, Berkeley and Coordinating Lead Author, IPCC (GSAS ‘88)
Dr. Robert Howarth, David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology, Cornell University
Dr. Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Penn State
Dr. Nathan Phillips, Professor in the Department of Earth and Environment, Boston University
Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor and Director, Earth Institute Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University (HCOL ’76, GSAS ‘80)

Alumni and Community Members

Veronica Coptis, Executive Director, Center for Coalfield Justice
Nathán Goldberg, Co-Founder and Policy & Strategy Director, Harvard Forward (HCOL ‘18)
Dr. Todd Gitlin, Professor of Journalism and Sociology, Columbia University (HCOL ‘63)
Denis Hayes, founder of Earth Day (HKS ‘70)
Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director, Wallace Global Fund
Anne Fadiman, former Harvard Board of Overseers member and Francis Writer-in-Residence, Yale University (RAD ‘75)
Frances FitzGerald, former Harvard Board of Overseers member and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian (RAD ‘62)
Joan M. Hutchins, former Harvard Board of Overseers president (RAD ‘61)
Winona LaDuke, environmentalist, economist, and author (HCOL ‘80)
Bevis Longstreth, former Securities and Exchange Commission member (HLS ‘61)
State Senator Chloe Maxmin, ME 13 (HCOL ‘15)
Thomas Oliphant, political columnist (HCOL ‘67)
Dr. Steven Schroeder, MD, former Harvard Board of Overseers member and Distinguished Professorship in Health and Health Care, UCSF (HMS ‘64)
Danielle Strasburg, Campaign Manager, Harvard Forward (HCOL ‘18)
Dr. Gay Seidman, former Harvard Board of Overseers member and Martindale Bascom Professor of Sociology, UW-Madison (HCOL ‘78)
Rev. Fred Small, Executive Director, Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light (HDS ‘99)
Camila Thorndike, National Advocacy Director, Climate XChange (HKS ‘20)
Lee Wasserman, Director, Rockefeller Family Fund
Rand Wentworth, President Emeritus, Land Trust Alliance
Senator Timothy E. Wirth, former Harvard Board of Overseers member and former U.S. Senator from Colorado (HCOL ‘61)
Kelsey Wirth, Chair and Co-founder, Mothers Out Front (HCOL ‘92)
Dr. Peter H. Wood, former Harvard Board of Overseers member and Professor Emeritus of History, Duke University (HCOL ’64, GSAS ‘72)

Harvard Faculty

Prof. Elizabeth Bartholet, Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law (RAD ’62, HLS ‘65)
Dr. Joyce Chaplin, James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History
Dr. Marshall Ganz, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy (HCOL ’92, HKS ’93, GSAS ‘00)
Dr. Virginie Greene, Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
Dr. James Engell, Gurney Professor of English Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature
Dr. Edward Hall, Norman E. Vuilleumier Professor of Philosophy
Dr. Regina LaRocque, MD MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine (HSPH ‘97)
Dr. Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Lecturer on History & Literature, Public Policy, and Education (HCOL ‘93)
Dr. Naomi Oreskes, Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Dr. Richard Parker, Lecturer in Public Policy and Senior Fellow, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy
Dr. James Recht, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Dr. Caren Solomon, MD MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine
Dr. Geoffrey Supran, Research Fellow, Department of the History of Science
Dr. Cornel West, Victor S. Thomas Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy (HCOL ’74, GSAS ‘76)
Dr. Shoshana Zuboff, Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration Emerita (GSAS ‘80)

For individual signatories, institutional affiliation is for identification purposes only.

Community and Environmental Organizations
350 Mass Allston-Brighton
350 Mass
350 NJ-Rockland
Atlantic Coast Conference Climate Justice Coalition
Awakening For Earth
Better Future Project
Boston Artist Impact
Boston Catholic Climate Movement
Brandeis Climate Justice
Center for Biological Diversity
Climate Code Blue
Climate Justice at Boston College
Climate Action Now Western Mass
College Climate Coalition
Courage California
Climate Finance Action
Divest Ed
Divest BU
DivestNJ Coalition
Divest NY
Earth Day Initiative
Earth Guardians
Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard Alumni
Friends of the Earth
Future Coalition
Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility
Green Education and Legal Fund
Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine
Harvard Black Students Association
Harvard College Young Democratic Socialists of America
Harvard Forward
Harvard Ethnic Studies Coalition
Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign
Harvard Task Force for Asian American Progressive Advocacy and Studies
HGSU-UAW Local 5118
Honor the Earth
Law Students for Climate Accountability
Massachusetts Peace Action
Mass Youth for Climate Justice
Medical Students for a Sustainable Future
MIT Divest
Mothers Out Front
Northampton 2degrees
Occupy Bergen County (N.J.)
Polluters Out
Progressive Mass
Rainforest Action Network
Seeding Sovereignty
Sunrise Boston
Take Back the Grid
TIAA Divest
Union of Concerned Scientists
XR Boston
Zero Hour

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Divest Harvard

We made Harvard commit to divestment. Now, the fight continues for climate and endowment justice.