Student climate campaigners have just taken over a key building at a prestigious university

Cambridge University
Chris Jarvis

Cambridge students have occupied a university building in protest at the institution’s continued investment in the fossil fuel industry. The protesters plan to stay until Cambridge University commits to cutting ties with these companies. The building in question holds half of the university’s administrative offices. The campaign group Cambridge Zero Carbon Society is behind the protest.

‘profiting from climate catastrophe’

Cambridge Zero Carbon Society told The Canary that the occupation was taking place in advance of a university meeting which will discuss divestment from fossil fuels on May 21. Divestment is a term which describes ending investment in a particular company, industry, or sector.

Speaking to The Canary, a spokesperson for the group said:

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There can be no business as usual while Cambridge continues to profit from climate catastrophe. We have taken every democratic route possible towards divestment, demonstrating the depth of popular support on this issue, and yet University Council is set to reject divestment once again. This is a climate emergency, and it is time for Cambridge to divest and turn its back on the industry responsible. We will shut down the University’s administrative heart until University management commit to full divestment.

Cambridge Students occupying a University Building

Over £300m invested in fossil fuels

According to the student network People and Planet, Cambridge University has over £377m invested in fossil fuel companies. Earlier this year, a leaked copy of a Cambridge University working group report showed that it would not recommend completely severing these ties.

A growing campaign

Student campaigners have been escalating their campaign for divestment at Cambridge. In March, Cambridge Zero Carbon Society joined forces with the Oxford Climate Justice Campaign to stage a bold protest at the annual Oxbridge boat race. And earlier this week, a group of students went on hunger strike.

The Cambridge students aren’t alone. The campaign is part of a much wider movement. On 8 May, the University of Bath became the latest university to divest its holdings in fossil fuels. This followed a series of divestment commitments from Durham, Bristol, and Cardiff universities.

More and more universities are ending their links with fossil fuels. These campaigners are now hoping Cambridge will follow suit.

Featured image via Foshie – Flickr

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