Esther Simpson occupation ends despite Leeds Uni not meeting with student protestors
After 12 days and no meeting with University management, Student Rebellion have said this is not the end of their fight
Leeds University students who have occupied a lecture theatre for almost two weeks have ended their protest despite the university not meeting with them or promising to cut ties with fossil fuel companies.
Student Rebellion occupied the Esther Simpson lecture theatre for 12 days and refused to end their occupation until the university “update its policy on responsible investment to include a ban on investments in oil, gas, coal and mining companies”.
However, they have left the Esther Simpson lecture theatre on Sunday evening without securing any meetings with University management.
Student rebellion alleged that the University “have shown no intention to engage with us, except with threats of explosion and legal action” and said “this is indicative of our institution’s disregard of the student voice, and the broken system that silences our peers”.
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In an Instagram post, Student Rebellion said: “Despite the university’s refusal to engage with students, we still leave having achieved a lot in the past two weeks. We have found and strengthened bonds with allies new and old.
“In the three unions that offered us their solidarity. In the other student groups that share our frustrations with management’s mistreatment of legitimate and urgent student concerns.
“In everyone who mobilised with us, organising and coming out to the rallies, coming into our space to deliver incredible workshops, bringing wonderful food, leafleting, even just offering a friendly face at the window.
Each and every one of you has made a difference to the movement. But this is just the beginning.”
Student Rebellion have said that their strength “lies with the power of collective action, solidarity, and humanity” and have called “upon everyone to recognise and act upon our shared responsibility”.
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.”