For more than 3 years, the Zero Carbon Society has engaged with University management through all possible routes, gathering wide democratic support for divestment from both staff and students. Two mass student petitions have gathered 1250 and 2500 signatures respectively, and an open letter signed by 360 academics calling the University to divest was handed to the Council just last month. Uncontested motions have been passed at CUSU and UCU, and a Grace signed by 140 academics was passed unchallenged at Regent House. Despite the overwhelming support, University Council is set to reject divestment at its next extraordinary meeting in an unprecedented move that will completely neglect the democratic will of Regent House. After a long and difficult deliberation, and having exhausted all democratic routes, we have decided to take direct action to peacefully protest the power abuse by central management.
During our protest at Greenwich House, we tried to find an agreed and negotiated end to this conflict. We offered meetings to discuss the situation with management both directly and through CUSU. Our calls for peaceful negotiation, however, have only been met with threats. The central administration filed an order of eviction that was rushed through County and High Court in a matter of days, bringing police and bailiffs to our campus to forcibly evict peaceful students from their protest. First, our democratic rights are barred, and now our right to protest is denied.
Management has failed to face up to the democratic will of its members and divest from fossil fuels for the last three years. Meanwhile, they have taken only five days to go through extraordinary legal procedures and have hired private bailiffs to forcefully evict students and take their finance office back. In a time of climate crisis, the University is showing a clear failure to get its priorities right. Please, join us in condemning these acts:
- Circulate and sign the fellows open letter, written by Dr Jason Scott Warren, which goes through the loose and misleading proposals of the Council’s Divestment Working Group Report. This is absolutely crucial for the campaign as we need to be able to show council members before the extraordinary meeting the scale of dissent from fellows on a Report that neglects Regent House democratic will and fails to engage with divestment as an issue or commit any money to fossil free funds.
- Sign and share the open letter condemning the violent eviction of students in peaceful protest. And attend the rally next Wednesday, 30th of May at 5pm in front of Senate House.
Contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to organise an open discussion on divestment at your college or department, or if you are willing to meet University Councillors to discuss the issue of divestment.