March 26, 2015

Judge Tosses Suit Seeking Harvard Fossil-Fuel Divestment

A Massachusetts judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Harvard University students calling on the institution to pull endowment funds out of fossil-fuel companies, student newspaper The Harvard Crimson reports. Superior Court Justice Paul D. Wilson's decision terms the plaintiffs' advocacy "fervent and articulate and admirable" but says their status as Harvard students does not give them legal standing "to charge Harvard with mismanagement of its charitable assets."

The suit, filed in November by seven members of activist group Divest Harvard, claims the university's investments in coal, oil, and gas firms breach its "duties as a public charity and nonprofit corporation." One of the plaintiffs said the group plans to appeal the March 17 ruling. Harvard President Drew G. Faust has repeatedly ruled out divestment, saying the university can best address climate change through research efforts.