Student activists hold Fossil Fuel Funeral outside UCL Council Meeting

Student activists hold Fossil Fuel Funeral outside UCL Council Meeting

Laurie Chen reports on the latest protest method from Fossil Free UCL

Yesterday afternoon, a group of student activists from Fossil Free UCL staged a Fossil Fuel Funeral outside the first UCL Council Meeting of the year.

Around 30 student mourners dressed in black, complete with face veils, took part in a funeral procession from the Quad to the meeting room in the South Wing via the cloisters. They chanted slogans including “Divest, divest, divest, put fossil fuels to rest” and “No rest, no rest, no rest until we divest”.

Council members had to walk through the students to get into the meeting, many of whom were holding banners and placards. Students even carried a makeshift coffin draped in a black banner, marked with the words “Keep Fossil Fuels 6 Feet Under”.


UCL Council is the university’s administrative body that ultimately decides whether UCL will divest from fossil fuels or not. The university’s direct investments in fossil fuel companies such as Shell and BP currently stands at a total of approximately £14.5 million. When asked about this controversial issue during the recent Provost’s Question Time, the Provost said he was not sure if UCL even had any direct investments in fossil fuel companies.

This is not the first time that Fossil Free UCL have staged imaginative stunts to promote their cause. Last year, the group staged a memorable ‘die-in‘ and Valentine’s day themed ‘oil orgy‘ outside previous UCL Council meetings.

Pekka Piiraainen, a recent UCL History graduate and one of the group’s organisers, said:

“UCL continues to invest millions of pounds in fossil fuel companies, which goes not only against the opinions of its students but also its leading academics in the scientific community. It’s important that UCL takes a stand for its scientific research, the future of its students and its Benthamite vision for a progressive, liberal university. We’re calling for UCL to divest from its current fossil fuel investments in the next 5 years.”

Featured image credit: Laurie Chen

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