Published on Sep 3, 2019
Harvard University students are calling for their school’s endowment to be divested from the prison industry. Some members of the Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign had relatives in prison, and all of them believe their school should not benefit financially from investments tied to America’s criminal justice system, which incarcerates more than 2 million people, about a third of them black. The campaign has collected 4,000 signatures of support and interrupted events that Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow attended with chants of “Disclose! Divest! Or this movement will not rest!” Students and alumni say they will continue to pressure Harvard to divest its investment from the prison industrial complex and put the money toward communities that have historically been disproportionally impacted by policing and incarceration. Prison divestment is the first step, members of the campaign say, toward the larger goal of prison abolition.
President Bacow did not respond to NBC News’ request for an interview. The university shared a statement from a previous university president that says, in part, “The endowment is a resource, not an instrument to impel social or political change.”