On Thursday March 16th, as part of a rolling campaign of direct actions, students occupied the balcony outside UCL’s Provost’s office, and daubed his windows with permanent markers. On one of the windows they quoted the Provost, Michael Arthur, highlighting his insistence on treating the university as a business to make money, while on other windows they quoted academic staff and UCL studies pointing to the urgency of action to combat climate change and move away from dependence on fossil fuels.
The university has more than £12million invested in oil and gas companies, and despite four years of divestment campaigning, the Council appears to be intransigent. As well as ignoring its academic staff, and a 3,600 strong petition, the university management is accused of trying to silence protests and of censoring social media posts by divestment supporters.
After decorating the Provost’s windows and chalking the walls outside his office, the student activists received messages that they would be facing disciplinary actions, but undaunted they continued to occupy the balcony for more than 24 hours, and then chalked huge slogans on the main Quad on Friday afternoon.
At least another week of direct actions is promised.