Student climate activists are occupying an Exeter University lecture theatre
They are protesting against Exeter and Falmouth’s ties to fossil fuel companies
Exeter and Falmouth university student climate activists are currently occupying a lecture theatre in protest of the university’s links to fossil fuel companies.
They are said to be occupying the lecture theatre in solidarity with a student group at Leeds University, who began their protest yesterday.
The group’s demands include Exeter and Falmouth universities ending relationships with fossil fuel companies, and for the unis to “stop aiding the recruitment of jobs in the fossil fuel industry” by stopping these companies engaging with students.
A spokesperson for Exeter University told The Exeter Tab that the uni supports free speech and the right for students to speak on the issues that matter to them, and said the uni is “talking to the protestors about their actions and coming to a resolution that minimises disruption for others”. A Falmouth spokesperson said the uni is speaking with the students involved “about the important issues they are highlighting and how we can work with them to minimise disruption their protest might cause.”
The student group are calling for all students from all degrees to be taught module on the climate crisis, including its causes and how we can adapt to it. Falmouth Uni told The Exeter Tab that the uni is “in the process of embedding learning about sustainability into every one of our undergraduate courses” and said this process will be completed by the end of next year.
The student group’s final demand is the “implementation of people’s assemblies to facilitate cross curricular discussions between Falmouth and Exeter, around important topics relating to the climate crisis at these universities.” The group says these discussions should include how the climate crisis “will affect these institutions and people within them”, as well as “the policies that perpetuate the system that is causing” the crisis.
A University of Exeter spokesperson said: “The University of Exeter works with a wide range of governments, businesses and organisations to achieve our strategic objectives on the environment and climate, health and wellbeing and social justice. Agreeing research partnerships do not equate to us supporting every aspect of a partner’s activities or policies either now or in the past but we do aim to influence the future.
“The science behind net zero is clear about the need to accelerate the phase out of fossil fuel supply and demand, transition to renewable energy at scale, and invest in carbon dioxide removal and this work is at the heart of the University of Exeter’s 2030 Strategy.
“We acknowledge that some colleagues and students will disagree with the University working with specific partners. We support freedom of speech and the right of colleagues and students to speak freely on the issues that matter to them. We are talking to the protestors about their actions and coming to a resolution that minimises disruption for others.”
A Falmouth University spokesperson said: “Yesterday at the COP27, the Secretary General of the UN warned the world that we are rapidly heading towards irreversible climate chaos. At Falmouth University, we are taking steps to address the climate crisis and we understand the depth of feeling on this issue in our student community.
“Our Sustainability Policy sets out our route to net zero and we are investing in our campuses and infrastructure to reduce our carbon impact. In addition, we believe that we can have the greatest impact when we equip our students with the skills and knowledge to make a difference in the businesses and industries that they will shape in the future. We are therefore in the process of embedding learning about sustainability into every one of our undergraduate courses – a process that will be completed by the end of next year.
“We are talking with the students involved about the important issues they are highlighting and how we can work with them to minimise disruption their protest might cause.”
Featured image via Instagram @endfossil.exfal