Divestment activist responsible for King’s Building graffiti has been suspended

There is a petition calling for his suspension to be revoked

On Wednesday afternoon, student Roger Hallam and alumni David Rhys Alan were arrested during direct action calling for the university to divest from oil and gas industries.

They were detained for 14 hours before being released from the police station at 3am without charge.

In a video, the pair emphasised that the “university is committing massive environmental damage, we’ve not done any permanent damage.”

David Rhys Alan

Demonstrators arrived in the foyer with buckets of water and sponge to clean up after themselves.

An emergency suspension was implemented for Roger Hallam, a farmer and a PhD candidate in the Department of Culture Media and Creative Industries who was studying effective radical political campaigning.

Yesterday morning, students at Tutu’s were reportedly asked to show their IDs to ensure Hallam was not in the building.

A petition has now been started challenging Hallam’s suspension.

On the petition website, Roger says he was told by a colleague that he has been banned from stepping foot onto King’s premise and staff have been banned from communicating with him.

A spokesperson for KCCE said: “The point of the protest was to draw attention to the fact that there can be no more investments in the oil and gas corporations if we are to have any chance of avoiding the worse on climate change.

“We want a decision by King’s to divest from all fossil fuels. Our aim was not to cause any permanent damage to the walls – we used temporary chalk spray.”

A spokesperson for King’s College London said: “The Student Conduct and Appeals process is now underway, therefore it is not appropriate to comment further.

“Work to repair the damage on surfaces including Portland stone – a porous limestone – will cost tens of thousands of pounds.

“It is a Grade 1 listed building and we have had to consult specialists about how best to remove the graffiti without causing further damage to the 200-year old stone work.

“Work has already begun and we expect it to be completed by Monday. The incident is being dealt with by the Police.”

Photography by Afifa Suhail