Chaos caused on UCL’s open days

Chaos caused on UCL’s open days

Sam Fearnley reports on the student protest during UCL’s open days

300 UCL protesters from various political groups came together yesterday to warn prospective students about its deep ‘ethical issues’. Three main groups, UCL Fossil Free, UCL Cut the Rent and UCL Why Is My Curriculum White, united in protest during the two UCL open days.

The protest began with UCL Fossil Free distributing fake UCL leaflets to the future students. One of the farcical student profiles read:

It’s great to work with companies like BHP Billiton. Their efforts to completely ignore climate science are highly commendable. After my PhD I plan to help them create more ridiculous short term profits at the expense of the Global South and our Earth’s climate.


The main protest began, like most, on Malet street, next to Student Central, with abundant megaphones and banners. Shahrar Ali, the Deputy Leader of the Green Party, also came to show his support. Groups such as UCL Fossil Free and UCL Cut the Rent then made a loud move down Malet place through to the cloisters.

Once all protesters had made their way into the cloisters, each campaign spoke about why their aims matter. Later, the campaigners spoke to the prospective students and their parents. According to UCL Fossil Free, many students showed genuine interest in the protest and various campaigns, saying:

Many reacted with dismay to find out about UCL’s investments in fossil fuels, institutionalised racism, poor but expensive student housing, and the frustrating lack of meaningful dialogue with administration.

One potential future student, Jenessa, was enlightened by UCL Fossil Free and said:

Universities should lead the way on fossil fuel divestment.

Hajera Begum, member of Why Is My Curriculum White and the current BME student officer, told Pi:

It is important that students, especially those from BME backgrounds, know of the widespread structural racism at UCL before applying. I’ve spoken to several BME prospective students today who were extremely grateful to me for letting them know the truth about this aspect of UCL.

David Dahlborn, UCLU’s Halls and Accommodation Officer, commented:

UCL residents are protesting housing conditions that have been described as unbearable and have been causing harm and injury through exposure to excessive noise, pest infestations and dust particles. This is a campaign against not only the university landlords, but also a strike that has set a new standard in the London-wide struggle against rising rents and declining living conditions. Despicable attempts to evict overseas students and stop them from graduating from an institution that calls itself a “global university” should give way to engagement with the strikers’ demands.

Later on, the protest moved back to Malet street, but not before passing by the provost’s office.

The turnout was lower than expected (300 rather than 500) but the protest did receive national attention. Outlets including the BBC, RT UK and Vice news picked up the story. There was also widespread interest on social media.

Some action continued today.

All image credits: UCL Fossil Free
Follow @pi_media and @UCLPi_News on Twitter for updates.


  1. Avatar
    July 5, 2015 / 12:17 pm


  2. Avatar August 18, 2015 / 6:28 am

    At a fundamental level the politicker Shahrar Ali is not a green representative but betrays core principles of a genuine green policy. Due to this it’s insane immigration policies and the catastrophic effects that this will have on any conception of the sustainability of the United Kingdom (also within the context of their abject failure to even consider the fundamental problem human overpopulation) the party that he misleads is fundamentally THE LEAST GREEN PARTY of any major political group in England and Wales. UKIP and, yes, both the tories AND labour are certainly FAR GREENER.

    The unavoidably sad fact is that countries with high population densities (such as many in Europe and exemplified by the UK) already have need to import vast amounts of food simply so as to feed their own burgeoning and inflating populations. Much of this food is already imported from a wide range of countries including those from which people are leaving. Many of these countries, especially in locations from Africa to Afghanistan, have exceedingly high birthrates. This is very clearly illustrated on the map of countries by fertility rate presented at: .

    In comparison, the relatively slow natural population growth of European countries remains much more closely in line with the rate of improvement in food production. Never-the-less, the population of the UK is already way in excess of the environmental factor of “overshoot”. See: and

    The UK is already far from being anywhere near a sustainable situation. This in even in a situation in which we use a relatively very small proportion of our agricultural area for the production of fuel. Our sustainability situation will be critical in any conceivable situation in which we may imagine the UK as being beyond its dependency on non-renewable resources. In short, we already have way to many people. Until we are in a situation in which we stop importing food, It makes no sense to import yet more people.

    In comparison rates of population growth in many of the countries that people are leaving are way in excess of rates of improvements in food production techniques.

    It also makes absolutely no environmental sense to take people from countries where per capita resource use is low and allow the import of such people into countries where per capita resource use is high. It makes no sense to import both people and food into the same densely populated areas. People should have support and opportunity in their own countries of origin. Destabilizing and prejudiced regimes that prompt attempts at migration should be opposed. Population concern organisations (such as at should be urgently referenced and supported.

    If anything potential migrants should be informed of the relevant facts regarding the global economic and environmental situation because, every migrant that makes it into countries like the UK, just adds to the problem of the global situation. Problems need to be solved at source. High stands of general education needs to be encouraged with particular attention given to the education and equal empowerment of women across the world, both because these issues are of fundamental importance for human rights as well as because the education and empowerment of woman has been proven to check the spiraling growth of population. Groups that oppose these principles and who act so as to displace populations, themselves, need to be opposed.

    For the related David Attenborough documentary search on: How Many People Can Live On Planet Earth

    Quote: ‘Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist.’ Kenneth Boulding

    Whether we like it or not there are limits

    I am a passionate green but I can’t stand back and see this wholesale ecological idiocy of this anti-green party. These anti-greens need to either return to practically environmental agendas or leave the party to those that will.

    This man’s outputs have a notable absence of environmental content. Why the hell does he think he has a place in a group called the “Green Party”?

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