Student climate activists are occupying the Esther Simpson Lecture Theatre

They are protesting against the university’s ties to fossil fuel companies


Climate activists from Student Rebellion are currently occupying Esther Simpson Lecture Theatre in protest of the university’s links to fossil fuel companies.

Their demands include a ban on university investments in oil, gas, coal and mining companies, a ban on these companies attending careers fairs or advertising vacancies, as well as the refusal of “all funding” from such sources.

This morning, a spokesperson for Student Rebellion said: “From Monday 7th November, students at the University of Leeds are occupying the Esther Simpson building in the Business School to demand the institution cuts all ties to fossil fuels; they say they will not leave the Esther Simpson Lecture Theatre until their demands are met.

“Student Rebellion are demanding that the University of Leeds cut all ties to fossil fuels. This means that the university must:

  1. Update the University of Leeds’ Policy on Responsible Investment, to include a ban on investments in oil, gas, coal and mining companies.
  2. Create and implement an Ethical Careers Policy that commits to a ban on oil, gas, coal and mining companies from recruiting through the University, which includes attending careers fairs, and advertising recruitment opportunities or role vacancies.
  3. Refuse all funding from oil, gas, coal and mining companies.

“Student Rebellion says that cutting all ties with fossil fuels must be part of the University’s commitment to safeguard their students”

Shelly, a third year student and one of the occupiers told The Tab: “I’m occupying because the university talks about climate action, but when it comes down to it, they aren’t doing enough and they aren’t doing it fast enough. The solutions need to be just and we cannot do that with fossil fuel money.”

Student Rebellion has also written an open letter to the Vice-Chancellor, Simone Buitendijk, outlining their demands and inviting university management to meet with them inside the occupied lecture theatre.

In the letter, which you can see via the group’s Instagram, Student Rebellion encourages interested students to join the occupation saying: “We all have a responsibility to step up and step out in the face of the climate crisis”

A spokesperson for the University of Leeds said:

“The University of Leeds Climate Plan sets out the University’s targets, actions and investments to achieving net zero by 2030.  The scope of the plan covers our teaching and research and operational activities, and our staff and student community have been involved in its development and have key roles in its implementation.

“In line with our Climate Plan, we are reorienting our research and teaching away from the fossil fuel sector. We continue to work with energy companies when the work aims to reduce carbon emissions or accelerate the transition to a low carbon future.

“Since 2019, our Climate Active investment strategy means we have had no investments in any company whose primary business is the extraction of fossil fuel, or which derives significant revenue from such extraction.”


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Featured image via Instagram/@srleeds & Twitter/@srleeds_