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Harvard Dean Thinks Climate Change Readings Should Be Part of Freshman Orientation

April 25, 2019

The dean of Harvard College says climate change readings should be incorporated into freshman orientation for all incoming students.

Rakesh Khurana, a sociology professor, was responding in an interview to recent demands by some students that Harvard University sell off its investment holdings in so-called fossil-fuel companies that produce oil, natural gas, or coal, which climate change activists say causes global warming, which they say is harming the environment.

Some also want the university to divest from companies that run privately operated prisons.

The university’s president, Lawrence Bacow, has said Harvard will not divest from fossil-fuel holdings because he does not think the school’s investments should be a vehicle for social change, which continues the policy of his predecessor – except the university did just that in 1990 when it sold off tobacco stocks.

The Harvard campus has been the site of several climate-change protests recently, including one on Thursday, April 4 that interrupted an appearance of the university president at the university’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

“Khurana suggested a series of changes he thinks the College should make, including incorporating readings about climate change and the prison system into freshman orientation, making dining hall menus more sustainable, and encouraging students to use bikes instead of motorized vehicles,” The Harvard Crimson reported, without explaining what “more sustainable” dining hall menus would look like.

Khurana expressed support for the concept of student protests and said he has a personal opinion about divesting from fossil-fuel companies which he declined to share.

In an unrelated matter, as dean of the college Khurana has spearheaded the college’s anti-single-sex-organizations policy, implementing rules that limit the opportunities of undergraduates who belong to fraternities, sororities, and so-called final clubs.

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