UCL has been given yet another ultimatum. This time, a green energy group has told the Provost to redirect fossil fuel funds lest they face more frequent and intense protests.
The student activist group, Fossil Free UCL, this morning sent a letter to Michael Arthur making a plea to “divest” funds currently going into fossil fuels into other, more sustainable energy sources.
“Divestment” is the reduction or redirecting of investment funds from areas considered to be contentious to less sensitive sectors.
Earlier this term, the same green energy activists staged a “die-in” outside the Provost’s office: students lay on the ground, feigning death, in protest of UCL’s continued support of nonrenewable energy sources.
The group claim that the Gower street university has invested £12 million in fossil fuels.
The letter, which Pi Media has seen, accuses UCL of being hypocritical: despite promising to act in an “environmentally sustainable manner”, they continue “clinging to [their] fossil fuel investments”.
The group claim to have “exhausted…every bureaucratic process”, saying that they have given lectures and presentations on the virtues of divestment.
They have asked Mr Arthur for a meeting and given him until November 28 to respond. If he does not answer their request or “no serious progress is made towards UCL divesting”, the activist group has threatened to escalate their actions.
Pi Media has been told that, over and above the leafleting that will continue to take place on campus, Fossil Free UCL is considering a “high risk” action.
No details have yet been released, but the group has been meeting to draw up contingency plans in case the request is not met.
In trying to galvanise support for their cause, the group have contacted Greenpeace UK, who lauded their effort but said is was a “UCL issue” only.
They have also reached out to Coldplay, an English band made-up of UCL alumni. They have as of yet received no answer.
The letter, which was shared with Pi Media, has over 100 signatories, indulging several heads of department.
Fossil Free UCL, a student-run activist group, hopes that some staff signatories will accompany them to a meeting with the Provost if the case may be.
Featured image: Tumblr