Just Stop Oil students begin wave of action calling on students and faculty staff to join in civil resistance

A student Just Stop Oil supporter has used a fire extinguisher to spray orange paint across a University of Bristol building. He is calling on students and faculty staff to march with Just Stop Oil in London this November, against the UK Government’s plans to licence new oil and gas projects. [1]

At around 11:50 today, Ben Meehan, 21, a filmmaking student at UWE, sprayed the glass facade of the historic Queen’s Building on campus as students and staff looked on. Three police cars arrived and six policemen arrested Ben after his action.

Speaking ahead of his action, Ben, who lives in Bristol, said: 

“I’m taking action because I can’t stand by while universities are complicit with the very systems that are destroying everything we care about. We have to begin behaving like we are in the emergency that we are in. We haven’t got long and there is no bigger threat.”

Today’s action comes in the wake of an ultimatum issued to all University Vice Chancellors in the United Kingdom on the 18th September. Students are demanding that University leaders make a public statement calling on the government to end new oil and gas projects, and make a commitment to join their students in marching on the streets of London if the government fails to respond.

A student Just Stop Oil Spokesperson said:

“University leaders have ignored our letter and as such have demonstrated their willingness to collaborate with a government that is engaging in genocide. By propping up “business as usual” – and refusing to engage emotionally in what’s coming for their students – our lecturers and universities are complicit in the wholesale destruction of our future. Put simply, they’re fucking us over. Business as usual means we won’t enjoy any of the privileges they’ve had. No food, no family, no future. There will be no research on a dead planet, no lectures when we’re fighting each other over our next meal.”

“We know we’re in the shit. But we refuse to give up. We know that if we act now, in solidarity with each other, then there’s still a glimmer of hope to hang on to. Hope is our birthright and we refuse to give up on it. We call on every student, lecturer, and university employee to face reality and act accordingly.”

“Young people are sick and tired of waiting for meaningful action. We have been failed, left in a situation that is beyond fucked. But instead of backing down, we will unite, come together and fight back. Young people are stepping into civil resistance on campuses all over the country. We are calling on university leaders to do the right thing and join their students in civil resistance against this criminal government. It is time for students and faculty staff to march with Just Stop Oil this November in London, when we will end new oil and gas. Visit juststopoil.org/students to sign up.”

Last week, it was revealed that despite many UK universities pledging to divest from fossil fuels, institutions are still accepting funding from these companies in research grants, tuition fees, and consultancy fees to the tune of £40 million since 2022. [2]

A year after it pledged to divest from fossil fuels, Bristol University was the first in the UK to declare a climate emergency in 2019. However, it’s come under fire in recent months for continuing to manage millions of pounds in student fees, research funding and staff salaries through Barclays Bank. As the seventh biggest funder of fossil fuels in the world, Barclays has poured more than $190bn (about £156bn) into the industry since the Paris Agreement. [3]

In 2021, Bristol University’s student newspaper, Epigram, conducted research that showed that over 70% of students reported suffering from climate anxiety. Over half said it affected their feelings about having a family. [4]

We are not prepared to stand by and watch while the government plans for millions to die and destroys everything we care about.  It’s up to all of us now to come together and resist. We cannot let them divide us. Together we can be the real opposition this country needs and we will win. We will stop new oil and gas. People are coming together from all over the UK to march day after day in London from 29th October. Its People vs Oil!


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High definition photos of the action with credit to Jamie Bellinger: https://galleries.jamie.photo/jsobristolunipreview

We transfer download of images: https://we.tl/t-V5jltZ3DaA

High quality images & video here:https://juststopoil.org/press-media

Website: https://juststopoil.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JustStopOil/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/just.stopoil/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JustStop_Oil

Youtube: https://juststopoil.org/youtube

Notes to Editors

[1] Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to demand that the government immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK. Just Stop Oil is a member of the A22 Network of civil resistance projects. Climate Emergency Fund is Just Stop Oil’s primary funder for recruitment, training, and capacity building.

Just Stop Oil ‘Blue Lights’ policy: our policy is, and has always been, to move out of the way for emergency vehicles with siren sounding and ‘blue lights’ on.

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/oct/04/uk-universities-take-41m-in-fossil-fuel-funding-since-2022

[3] https://www.bristol247.com/climate/news-climate/extinction-rebellion-calls-for-university-to-cut-ties-with-bank/

[4] https://epigram.org.uk/2021/02/19/climate-anxiety-bristol-students/