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Harvard Students Suing School Officials Over Endowment’s Investment Ties to Prisons

Harvard Students Suing School Officials Over Endowment’s Investment Ties to Prisons

“funds the opulent lifestyles of Harvard’s top administrators who are prison profiteers”

When did college students start believing they had a right to dictate how schools invest their money?

CNN reports:

Harvard students sue university officials over school’s investment ties to prisons

Five Harvard students are suing university officials over Harvard’s investments in what they call the “prison-industrial complex.”

The students are accusing the university’s president, a senior fellow of Harvard Corporation, and Harvard’s endowment manager, Harvard Management Company (HMC), of a “violation of fiduciary duty and breach of the Harvard charter.”

Jason Newton, a spokesman for Harvard University, confirmed the university received a copy of the complaint Wednesday but wouldn’t comment further.

Jarrett Drake, a plaintiff in the case, described the “prison-industrial complex” to CNN as the mixture of overlapping interests between the government, prisons, police, and corporations in “keeping bodies confined and controlled.”

Harvard uses its endowment to “help ensure Harvard University has the financial resources to confidently maintain and expand its leadership in education and research for future generations,” according to HMC’s website.

However, the students contend in the lawsuit that the money “funds the opulent lifestyles of Harvard’s top administrators who are prison profiteers.”

The defendants include Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, Senior Fellow of the Harvard Corporation William Lee, and HMC. Bacow and Lee did not respond for comment.


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Question for the attorneys out there: do these students have standing, and under what theory? Seems odd to me, but there are a lot of odd things in the law.

What kind of standing do these students have in court? If the student-university relationship like a customer and service provider, what right does the customer have to tell a business how to invest it’s revenues?

I propose the gov’t tax all university endowments and reserve funds. Any endowment larger than the school’s annual operating budget should be taxed at 35% a year (or whatever the top income tax bracket is…) and the funds used to help pay off student loan debt.

As an example, Amherst College has an endowment of $2.5 billion (according to Wikipedia.) Imagine how many Americans struggling with student loan debt could be helped by tax receipts of $875m. If the average student loan debt is $30K, that could free nearly 30,000 students from oppression. And that’s just one school…

The top ten endowments total more than $18 billion. Talk about untapped resources!

I’m pretty sure the “Harvard Charter” is not a standard contract in which breach can be litigated for damages.

For one reason, the students do not adopt the charter nor are their signatures required to forge the agreement.

When are judges finally going to start enforcing sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits?

Ol' Jim hisself | February 24, 2020 at 8:37 am

Why are these ‘students’ still in the school?

When I was in college (many years ago), if I had pulled something like this crap, I would have been out on my ear – with NO refund!

When are these weenie administrators going to grow a pair?

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | February 24, 2020 at 2:07 pm

RE: “Why are these ‘students’ still in the school?”

Isn’t it obvious that they must be some of the prison inmates?