The Harvard Law School student body voted through a referendum asking the school’s administration to divest from the fossil fuel companies which the school is currently investing in. This decision follows the example set by Harvard University, which was the first American college to request a similar divestment.
Harvard Law School currently holds shares of a number of large energy companies that deal with fossil fuel. This type of investment is not an uncommon practice for most colleges and universities. But this request for divestment in these specific interests is a relatively new phenomenon, and is an attempt by students to send a political message by wielding the large pocketbooks of the university they attend.
In a vote that was held over five days of last week, 67 percent of voting law school students favored the divestment initiative. (40% of the school’s students participated in the vote.)
The Harvard Crimson spoke with Sean Hamidi, a law school student that was involved with the divestment initiative. “Frankly, the urgency and the congressional inaction when it comes to fossil fuels deserves singular, driven, concentrated action by students. It’s really exciting and inspiring because law students get so much flak for not caring about things or for being removed from the broader student community.”
The referendum calls upon Harvard University President Drew G. Faust and administrators to work closely with Harvard Law School’s Student Representative Board in order to move forward with the divestment.
The divestment initiative kicked off when Hamidi and other students gathered 250 signatures that supported the issue, and presented the petition to the Student Representative Board.
Across the United States, the movement to divest university funds from fossil fuel companies began in September 2012. More than 315 universities and colleges participated in the movement, and Harvard University was the first school to pass a similar student referendum.