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    Activist group protests fossil-fuel portfolio at Harvard

    A group of Harvard students, alumni, and faculty blocked the entrances to a building on campus on Sunday night as part of an activist group’s ongoing efforts to persuade the university to end its $36.4 billion endowment’s investment in fossil fuels because they have been identified as a cause of climate change.

    The protesters, who estimated that about 200 people took part, split into three groups to block the entrances to Massachusetts Hall, a building on campus that houses administrative offices as well as freshman dorm rooms.

    The protesters said they saw about a dozen Harvard police present. The scene was peaceful, said Jasmine Opie, a junior at Harvard and a member of Divest Harvard, the group behind the protest.

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    “We are blocking the doors of the administrators to try to disrupt business as usual and the status quo of refusing to consider taking action against fossil fuel companies,” Opie said, adding that she and some of the other protesters planned to stay overnight.

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    The university agrees that climate change is a serious problem, Jeff Neal, a Harvard spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.

    “Harvard is fully committed to leadership in this area, through research, education, engagement with key actors in the energy and policy domains, and efforts to reduce its own carbon footprint,” Neal said.

    Sammy Evers can be reached at samuel.evers@globe.com. Niko Emack-Bazelais can be reached at niko.emack-bazelais@globe.com.