Just Stop Oil students paint five University buildings calling on students and staff to March in London

Five student Just Stop Oil supporters have painted buildings belonging to University College London, Birmingham, Sussex, Falmouth and Exeter Universities. They are demanding the UK Government immediately halt planned new oil and gas projects and are calling on students and faculty staff to march with Just Stop Oil in London this November. [1]

At around midday today, Arthur Clifton, an english literature graduate from Exeter University used a fire extinguisher to paint the UCL pillars orange.

Meanwhile two students sprayed buildings belonging to Falmouth and Exeter Universities on the shared Penryn Campus. Holly Astle, an illustration graduate from Falmouth University, painted the vice chancellors office – The Link building. Whilst over the road Ethan Paul, a renewable energy engineering graduate from Exeter University, used buckets of paint and spray cans to spread orange paint over Exeter University’s Stella Turk building.

In Birmingham, Harrison Donnelly has used buckets of paint and spray cans to paint the main University of Birmingham Library. While at Sussex University, Oscar Denman-Gould has used a fire extinguisher to paint the University of Sussex Library. 

It was recently revealed that UK universities have taken £40m in fossil fuel funding since 2022. Exeter University is the largest beneficiary of fossil fuel financial commitments since 2022, being in receipt of £14,700,000. [2]

Speaking ahead of his action, Arthur Clifton, 22, who lives in London, said: 

“I cannot stand by in terror and do nothing as my entire generation is sold out for short-term profit. I wonder how long it is before my 10 year old sister has to face the food shortages and violence that so many across the globe are already facing in the wake of social breakdown brought on through climate collapse?”

“Universities are supposed to develop and protect their students and young people, but instead they are sending us into the furnace. The academic research has been done, and it could not be clearer. If these institutions listened to their own staff, they would know how crucial it is that we immediately halt all new oil and gas licences. Instead, they accept millions in funding from oil and gas corporations.”

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.

Speaking before taking action today, Holly Astle, 28, who lives in Falmouth, said:

“Universities are meant to have a duty of care over their students, but are failing miserably as they set them up for a future that won’t exist. What are they doing to prepare the youth for the prospect of climate breakdown and civilisational collapse? Universities are responsible for sustaining a double reality of recognising the existence of the crisis, without feeling any incentive to act on it.”

“We are angry that universities continue to prop up the government as they drill for new oil in an act of violence against the young. Students and staff alike must join us in civil resistance to stand up against this injustice. This is what students across the country are doing, step up and march with us in November. Sign up at juststopoil.org/students.”

Today’s actions come after a major victory for disruptive direct action was declared yesterday. The parliament in the Netherlands has voted to initiate a phase-out plan of fossil fuel subsidies, after being forced into a vote by Extinction Rebellion Netherlands, who have been blockading a key road near the Hague, every day since September 9, 2023. [3]

Just Stop Oil supporters 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. It’s People vs Oil!


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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?ref=biztoc.com

[3] https://extinctionrebellion.nl/en/a12-blockades-netherlands-effective-lower-house-asks-cabinet-for-phase-out-plan-for-fossil-fuel-subsidies/