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April 16, 2015

Protesters with the group Divest Harvard hang a sign outside Massachusetts Hall. (Mallory Noe-Payne/WGBH)

Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust on Thursday offered to meet with student activists and environmentalists if they end their blockade of her office and stop disrupting university business. The student-led group Divest Harvard swiftly declined her offer.

For the past five days, Divest Harvard has been blocking Massachusetts Hall, Harvard’s oldest building, demanding the university sell off fossil fuel stocks in its $36 billion endowment. The goal, organizers say, is to address climate change.

Faust has repeatedly said that climate change is a serious threat but Harvard’s endowment should not be used as a political or social tool and divestment is neither warranted nor wise.

In an email to organizers, Faust said she's always open to hearing from Harvard students about their thoughts and concerns.

"I would be happy to meet with you and a representative group of your student colleagues when you have ceased disrupting university operations," Faust wrote to Divest Harvard founder Chloe Maxmin. "I would welcome the opportunity to discuss again our shared belief that climate change is a serious threat as well as the ways universities can most effectively confront it."

Leaders of Divest Harvard tell WGBH's On Campus that Faust offered to meet with two representatives behind closed doors and off the record. The group plans to continue their act of civil disobedience through Friday.

Earlier: Amid Calls to Divest, Schools Explore Green Revolving Funds

Related: Divestment Is More Difficult Than Most Think

climate change, divestment, new business models, Harvard

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