Call to Action for all University Vice Chancellors in the UK

Just Stop Oil students are calling on all University Vice Chancellors in the UK to read this open letter, and then sign the ultimatum that we’ve included below so that we may send it on to Rishi Sunak and Gillian Keegan. New oil and gas is genocide, and we are demanding that universities do not continue to be complicit.

Dear Vice Chancellors,

We are the student wing of Just Stop Oil. We are writing to you because we are disgusted by your failure to act to stop mass murder being committed by the UK government as it plans to “max out” the UK’s oil and gas reserves. 

On 15th September the education secretary, Gillian Keegan, wrote a letter urging you to warn your students of the consequences that engaging in civil resistance could have for their futures. This letter urges you to face up to the far worse consequences coming down the line as a result of the government’s genocidal policies.

Paper after academic paper spells out the annihilation that we now face: hundreds of millions starving to death, billions of people being forced to leave their homes. Students and young people face a future of global economic collapse, war, and social breakdown.

You are complicit in this genocide. By partnering with fossil fuel companies, undertaking research for industrial agriculture, auto, aviation and defence industries, and sending delegates to useless COP conferences, your universities give the government and carbon corporations the veneer of respectability, and the social licence to carry on their project of mass death. You have failed to speak the truth about what is happening, and you have utterly failed to uphold the duty of care you have for your students.

Contrast your cowardice with what happened in Norway, in 1942. Ten thousand teachers went on strike in resistance to the occupying Nazi regime. One thousand were rounded up and imprisoned, many sent to concentration camps, but they refused to comply. The resistance movement wrote in a pamphlet: “The calling of the teacher is not only to give them knowledge but also teach them to believe and strive for what’s true and right. Therefore they cannot, without failing their calling, teach what contradicts their conscience”. 

They knew that there are lines no government must ever cross.

Now comes your moment to stand up against evil. It is time for you to put your head above the parapet and publicly announce that the government’s policies are criminal and condemn the next generation to obliteration. It is time for you to tell the truth, that new oil and gas means the end of everything. It is time for you to engage in civil resistance.

In November, thousands of students will be arrested for marching in London. Many may be imprisoned. We demand that you sign the attached letter* which gives the government a clear ultimatum: either they stop new oil and gas licences, or you will be duty bound to join your students in slow marches across London to the point that you too will be arrested and imprisoned.

If you do not sign and return the attached letter by Friday 22nd September, students will have no choice but to bring a wave of civil disobedience to their campuses.

It is time for you to pick a side. Either you side with the government, and the education secretary who is responsible for allowing the UK’s places of education to physically crumble into disrepair – or you side with your students as they take action to protect their lives and their futures.

You knew this moment was coming. We will not be complicit. Will you?

Yours sincerely,



Other ways to support:

Contribute to our fundraiser to help transport and accommodate students taking action in London:

Join our next student meeting, every Wednesday, 6PM:–grjgrE9VebLqfVYT8mQYu12ttBTp4#/registration