Students rallied outside the Radcliffe Camera last Friday in a further attempt to limit university investment in fossil fuels.
The rally has been accompanied by the passage of motions in 11 JCRs and MCRs. The campaign was backed by Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, and is a continuation of the protests against British Gas which took place in November of last year.
Across the UK universities, UCL, Glasgow and Imperial College London were the target of student protests. Participants held marches, rallies and petition presentations, as part of Fossil Free Friday, intended to pressure authorities to alter their investment patterns.
JCRs motions have noted findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that 60-80% of fossil fuels must be left in the ground in order to avoid “dangerous” climate change.
The campaign plans to meet with the university’s Socially Responsible Investment Review Committee in 7th week. A seminar is also being held next Wednesday at St. Hilda’s where a university spokesperson will explain their stance on divestment.
James Rainey, who helped organise the rally, commented, “By planning to fully exploit their reserves, fossil fuel companies are behaving in a socially irresponsible way which undermines the future of students, and hence we do not believe that the university or colleges can continue to invest their endowments with them”.
He went on, “At our event on Friday we tried to raise the profile of our campaign, which is fully supported by 11 common rooms and the OUSU council. It was great that so many people turned out in spite of the miserable weather, showing how strongly students and Oxford residents feel about fossil fuel divestment”.
Beth Jones, Jesus College JCR Green rep, commented, “I am pleased to see the start of progressive action to rectify the university’s current policy of investing in such damaging fuels.”
She said, “There are greener investment alternatives that rallies, such as this one, draw attention to and I hope that Fossil Fuel Friday has successfully sent a message that there is a genuine desire for change among the student body.”