Harvard fossil fuel debate hits medical school

Emily Rappleye (Twitter) - Print  | 

Harvard Medical School faculty will vote Feb. 12 on an advisory resolution to divest the university's endowment tied to fossil fuel companies and "declare a climate crisis," according to student newspaper The Harvard Crimson.

The issue at Harvard has made headlines for years, but is coming to a head after the Cambridge, Mass.-based university's arts and sciences faculty recently voted 179-20 in support of divestment, according to Wicked Local, a local news source. Such a move is not unprecedented. Harvard has previously divested from companies that do not align with its values; for example, companies tied to the Darfur genocide, according to the report.

The medical school faculty vote taking place Feb. 12 specifically calls on Dean George Daley, MD, PhD, to publicly adopt the position of divesting from fossil fuel companies, according to The Harvard Crimson. Only Harvard Corp., the university's highest governing body, has the power to divest the endowment, but advisory resolutions could put pressure on the institution, faculty told Wicked Local.

The Financial Times reports that Harvard Management Company board members say they do not expect to see the board vote to divest. Other schools, such as Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and Stanford (Calif.) University, are also grappling with similar issues, according to FT.  

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