World’s richest university will appear in court on Friday to seek dismissmal of lawsuit brought by students calling for it to pull investments out of coal, oil and gas companies
Harvard University is fighting a lawsuit brought by students calling on it to divest from fossil fuels. Photograph: Lisa Poole/AP
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
Thursday 19 February 2015 06.46 EST Last modified on Thursday 19 February 2015 09.31 EST
Lawyers for Harvard University will appear in court on Friday to fight off attempts to force the world’s richest university to dump coal, oil and gas companies from its $36bn (£23bn) endowment.
A lawsuit filed late last year by seven law students and undergraduates argues the university has a duty to fight climate change by pulling out of fossil fuel companies.
The university and the state of Massachusetts, which is also named in the lawsuit, are asking the judge to dismiss the case.
But a student sit-in at the Harvard president’s offices last week – and the rapid expansion of the campus divestment movement – suggest that the university can expect continued pressure.“This is important to us because climate change is supposed to be a huge problem and so far our existing institutions have been unable to address it in a way that is commensurate with the problem,” said Alice Cherry, a second year law student and one of the seven bringing the suit. “We think it is past time for our legal system to have something to say about it.”