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Mixed feelings from students after Just Stop Oil vandalise RadCam

In an act of protest against the University’s continued connections to the fossil fuels industry, Just Stop Oil (JSO) vandalised the Radcliffe Camera shortly after noon. Whilst many support the environmental group’s goals, students had mixed feelings about this highly visible act of protest.

Multiple JSO members threw paint at the RadCam and sat out front in protest, before police intervened. The removal of the protestors was met with a large reaction from the crowd. A student spokesperson for JSO, which has a history of high-profile protests at Oxford, says that they chose the Oxford landmark as it is the “most recognisable part of the university”. JSO was hoping to raise awareness of the University’s links to fossil fuel groups like INSEOS. They also hope this act of civil disobedience will help publicise the group’s upcoming march in sixth week.

Many nearby students voiced support for the JSO. A third-year Jesus student agreed with JSO’s goals, calling their protest “generally a good idea”. He added that it is “unfortunate it causes disruption”, but overall supports their actions. Two other nearby students added that this was a “peaceful protest” and argued that all effective protests are meant to cause annoyance in order to be visible.

Others, however, took a harsher stance. While JSO had warned librarians that this event would take place, the RadCam was closed following the vandalism, causing a disturbance to academic activities. One student from St Hildas stated: “I think Just Stop Oil has gone a bit far”. They added that “it raises awareness obviously, which is a good thing, but it could deter people [from the movement] at the same time”. 

Two Christ Church students voiced their concern over the message the protest was sent, “I just think it will make students look bad because people will automatically assume that guy was a student”. They are worried about how this event will be treated by the press and the negative reputation it will give the movement; “it makes us look bad as well”.

Today’s vandalism of the RadCam comes amidst similar protests at Exeter and Bristol universities.

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