‘Stop playing games with our future’: XR Cambridge play croquet on Senate House lawn
‘Essentially, we are saying to the University: stop being evil.’
As part of their divestment campaign against the University of Cambridge, Extinction Rebellion Cambridge (XR) have played a game of croquet on the “hallowed” lawn in front of Senate House, featuring a pair of dinosaurs. This “finale” to the first week of the “No More Excuses” campaign follows several actions, including small-scale protests and incidences of graffiti on Cambridge University property.
This afternoon we paid a visit to Senate House at @Cambridge_Uni, scaled the fence that keeps the commoners out and played croquet. 19 colleges invest in the fossil fuel industry, playing games with our future. So we played a game on their hallowed lawn. They must divest pic.twitter.com/WU23ItuzjZ
— XR Cambridge (@xr_cambridge) August 13, 2020
XR are calling for the University and its Colleges to divest from, and cut its ties with, the fossil fuel industry. After presenting the ultimatum that divestment plans should be announced by the end of July, which was not complied with by the University, XR have now started their campaign of “non-violent direct action”.
Following yesterday’s graffitiing of the University signs at the Mill Lane and Sidgwick Site campuses, today a group of XR activists came out to play croquet, and brought their dinosaurs along with them, previously seen in performance-action “Darwin and the Dinosaurs”, which are said to be “representing the University’s potentially extinction-inducing fossil-fuel investments”.
This is not the first time that Extinction Rebellion have targeted Cambridge’s lawns: in February this year, XR rebels dug up Trinity College’s front lawn in protest against Trinity’s investments in the fossil fuel industry, making both local and national headlines. XR have noted that Trinity, Cambridge’s wealthiest college, has not yet made moves to divest. Extinction Rebellion has said that the University itself “has so far refused to engage with [their] divestment campaign”, but described it as “successful so far”, as several colleges have published details of their investments for the first time. However, only Queens’ and Clare Hall have fully divested, with 10 other colleges maintaining “indirect investments in the industry”. According to XR’s calculation, the University and its colleges “have 6.4 per cent of their endowment funds in fossil fuel, totalling over £400 million”.
In a statement, Marcus from XR Cambridge said: “The University won’t be happy that we’ve come onto their lawn. Well, we’re not very happy with them. It’s time for them to stop playing games with our future and the lives of so many people and animals who are already impacted by climate breakdown all over the world today.
“If the University thinks that, in 2020, it is acceptable to make money out of planet-killing companies, it is living in the wrong century. It is embarrassing itself and the academic tradition it represents.
“Essentially, we are saying to the University: stop being evil. It’s not a lot to ask, especially when ethical investments have been proven to give higher financial returns than unethical ones.”
Whilst XR have said that they will no longer announce all of their actions in advance, it is certain that the group will continue to protest against the University’s lack of action towards divestment, including a coordinated “Oily Handed March” on the 28th August as part of the wider regional “Fossil Fuels Day”.
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Cover photo credit: Extinction Rebellion Cambridge