Cambridge City Council passes resolution in support of MIT Divest

Cambridge mayor and newly elected Boston mayor write in support of divestment

The Cambridge City Council passed a resolution in support of MIT Divest’s campaign to divest MIT’s endowment from the fossil fuel industry at its Nov. 1 meeting.

The resolution was introduced to the council by Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqi and Councillors Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Quinton Zondervan, and Marc McGovern. All nine members of the council voted unanimously in favor of the resolution.

MIT Divest Co-Chair Peter Scott ’23 and member Ellie Rabenold ’23 attended and spoke at the meeting over Zoom.

The passed resolution writes that in light of Harvard University and Boston University (BU) deciding to divest from the fossil fuel industry, because of the dangers surrounding climate change and global warming, and given the city council’s history of supporting activists from MIT and Harvard demanding divestment, the city council has decided to “go on record in full support of MIT Divest’s campaign.”

Additionally, the resolution states that the city clerk will notify President L. Rafael Reif of the council’s support of MIT Divest and send Reif the resolution.

Rabenold said in an interview with The Tech that MIT Divest decided to “step up” their outreach efforts and contact local councillors after Harvard and BU announced that they would divest, and Sobrinho-Wheeler of the Cambridge City Council offered to write a resolution to present at the council meeting.

In addition to the passing of the resolution, MIT Divest has reached out to candidates in the recent Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville local elections for public endorsements.

Cambridge Mayor Siddiqi wrote in support of MIT Divest, “We need to lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as soon as possible” by reducing “our dependence on fossil fuels.” Siddiqi added, “I hope MIT will join that movement and divest as soon as possible.”

Newly elected Boston Mayor Michelle Wu wrote about MIT Divest, “I have been inspired by the work of youth climate activists on this front, and I am committed to following their lead and centering their generation in taking action on the big issues that sit squarely on all of our future.”

Akriti Bhambi, newly elected to the Cambridge School Committee, wrote that she endorses MIT Divest because “educational institutions have a duty to ensure a safe and healthy future for their students and the world.”

Scott said in an interview with The Tech that MIT Divest hopes “the administration sees what they’re up against; not only does 80% of the student body and a majority of opinionated faculty support divestment, but the city government of Cambridge is also telling them their stance is wrong, and divestment is a big step toward holding companies accountable.”

In addition to contacting local politicians, MIT Divest is continuing to push MIT toward divestment through other initiatives, including presenting its standards of investment at MIT Energy Night, organizing a divestment day of action to educate about the importance of divestment, and encouraging students to sign its climate conscious pledges to individually divest from the fossil fuel industry. MIT Divest also plans to hold a rally the afternoon of Nov. 12.