More than 100 people attended a rally in Harvard Yard on April 11 protesting Harvard Management Co.'s ownership and management of timber plantations in Argentina.
The rally was part of the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition's 11-day SHAME (Stop Harvard's Argentine Mismanagement and Exploitation) campaign from April 5-16, designed to draw attention to the way the university manages its investments, particularly its practices with the Argentine plantations.
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., directly owns two timber plantations in Argentina as a part of its $32 billion endowment. HMC spokesman Kevin Galvin declined to disclose what percentage of the endowment the plantations make up.
During the rally, organizers delivered a petition with 1,115 signatures to Harvard University President Drew Faust, asking Harvard to stop expanding the plantations it owns; remove plantations within 2,000 meters of community members' homes; and comply with all legally required employment standards. The coalition, however, is not asking for divestment, according to its spokesman Blake McGhghy. The coalition says Harvard's practices on the Argentine plantations harm workers and local farmers, and destroy wetlands.
In an op-ed in Harvard's student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, Andrew G. Wiltshire, HMC's managing director and head of alternative assets, called the campaign “full of factual errors.” Mr. Galvin would not comment further.