Extinction Rebellion grafitti signs and pillars on Sidgwick Site and Mill Lane

The action is part of their divestment campaign against the University of Cambridge


In their latest action against the University of Cambridge, Extinction Rebellion Cambridge (XR) and Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge (XRYC) have sprayed the message ‘Divest now: No more excuses’ on sites including the sign at the Sidgwick Site and the pillars at Stuart House, on the Mill Lane Site.

This action is part of Extinction Rebellion Cambridge’s divestment campaign (‘No More Excuses’) against the University, in which they demand that the University and its non-divested colleges fully divest, and that the University cuts its ties with the fossil fuel industry. XR demanded that plans for this be announced by the end of July, but as this deadline has since passed, they have begun their campaign of “non-violent direct action”. While Darwin College is in the early stages of divesting – but, according to an XR press release, not announced this publicly – two more have “engaged in dialogue” but have not yet agreed to divest.

So far, XR’s action has included spray-painting messages on the University of Cambridge’s BP Institute, a performance of “Darwin and the Dinosaurs”, a “divestment play”, outside Darwin College and the graffitiing of the Sidgwick and Mill Lane signs. However, aside from an “Oily Handed March” planned as part of a wider protest on the 28th August,Β  which is part of the wider East of England’s “Fossil Fuels Day”, Extinction Rebellion are not publicly announcing their actions in advance.

In a statement to The Cambridge Tab, Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge has said: “The University of Cambridge sells a green image of itself by, for example, recently commissioning a solar plant on its campus and setting far-off carbon neutrality goals. However, at last valuation, they, along with their non-divested colleges, hold Β£400m invested in fossil fuels! They’ve been constantly picked up on this for over five years, with the calls to divest from ecocidal industries growing stronger and stronger.

They are simultaneously going in two opposite directions – one that helps people and planet, the other completely trashing them.”

They went on to say that they had “no choice” but to take this action “after students and staff exhausted all the ‘proper’ democratic channels at the University” and that “senior management overruled them at every turn.”

They also warned: “The ‘divest now’ stencilling is just one of many, many non-violent direct actions we have taken and will be taking against the University and colleges until they fully divest. These institutions are now in our focus.”

This has not been the first time that Extinction Rebellion have grafittied University of Cambridge buildings – as well as targeting the BP Institute, in June this year they spray painted Gonville & Caius’ ‘Gate of Honour’ with the words “Fisher Must Fall”, alluding to the window in Caius’ Hall commemorating Caius alumnus and eugenicist R.A. Fisher, which will now be removed following petitions and protests. XR have also spray painted the Cambridge Arctic Shelf Program research building, condemning its ties to the fossil fuel industry and leaving messages including “You’re not geologists, you’re oily” and “Leave the oil in the ground”.

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Extinction Rebellion launch divestment campaign against University of Cambridge

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XR Youth graffiti buildings on Cambridge West campus

All image credits: Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge