harvard

Photo by Ingfbruno / CC 2.0

A new student-led petition is calling upon Harvard University to divest from private prisons, The Harvard Crimson reported this week.

Last week the undergraduate organization, the Harvard College Project for Justice, began emailing the petition to affiliated students through house listservs. The "Private Prison Divestment Petition" urged "[Harvard President] Drew Faust and the Harvard Management Corporation to divest from direct and indirect investments in private prison stock, as well as publicly commit to a moratorium on such investments in the future."

According to the Harvard Crimson, the university held roughly $23 million shares in Vanguard, an international mutual fund group which owns shares in both the two private prisons companies in the U.S. in fiscal year 2016.  

The group specifically cited the protection of undocumented students at Harvard as a main impetus for creating the petition. According to the petition, the university invests in prisons which hold and profit off nearly 75 percent of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainees.

Currently, the petition has amassed about 350 signatures from students and some faculty. 

Harvard undergraduates are not the only students calling upon their administration to divest. 

Late last year, Princeton Private Prison Divestment began circulating a similar petition and the group is still urging the university to divest, 

In 2015, Penn Divest from Displacement published an editorial in the DP imploring Penn to divest from two private prison organizations.No official response was ever received from the administration.  

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