Students at Kings College are occupying part of the Strand Campus in order to pressure management to disinvest from fossil fuels. Ewan Nicolson reports from the protest.
Students and members of King’s College Climate Emergency at King’s College London went into occupation at the main Strand Campus yesterday to keep up the pressure on KCL management to stick to their commitments on fossil fuel divestment. The occupation is intended to be a final escalation of the campaign after several creative protests designed to call attention to KCL’s investments in fossil fuel companies and to put pressure on them to take seriously their commitments to divestment, and investment in green technology and renewable energy.
We hope that this campaign will put pressure upon King’s to make serious commitments to divestment which go further than previous commitments considered to have fallen short of what we believe necessary given the immediacy of the issue. KCCE members have agreed that the occupation will continue until reasonable assurances are given by the college administration that they will take serious steps to divest from all fossil fuels. As part of our demands members of KCCE will be meeting with the Vice Principle Chris Motterhead and at least one other member of senior management and a representative from KCL’s student newspaper ROAR so that a public statement can be published stating the universities commitments to divestment. We hope that through this the University can be better held to account for their commitments.
As Rosalind Rei, a 3rd year History student put it “gradualism and quiet compromise has no place in discussions over the very survival of our species. King’s Climate Emergency appealed to me because its members were willing to risk arrest and punitive action in order to hold KCL to account over this defining issue of our time”. Luke Harwood, an MA student in the Department of Philosophy added he joined the campaign “because universities such as King’s refuse to take divestment seriously, while claiming to be progressive institutions. This simply must be called out and changed”.
Our official statement is as follows:
“Today students and members of King’s College Climate Emergency have occupied the Old Committee room at the Strand Campus.
This peaceful occupation is a culmination of the campaign to encourage the university to demonstrate their commitments made in regards to fossil fuel divestment.
These commitments include:
1. A meeting with Chris Mottershead (Vice Principal) with at least one other member of senior college management and other members of KCCE.2. A written statement that gives a serious commitment to the outline of our agreement – on the three areas we discussed: the date KCL will go fossil free (namely, by 2022); the percentage of investments in green technology/renewables by 2025 or similar date (discussions were centred around 40% by 2025); KCL to fund research into how cultural change on climate change can be brought about.3. A clear establishment of trust between Vice Principal and KCCE that this agreement is a serious and viable proposition and will not be amended or retracted once a statement is produced.We ask that a public (signed) statement be made at 5pm tomorrow that addresses agreements 1, 2 and 3, with a member of Roar present, so that deliberations can be recorded and made public. Once we have this reasonable assurance that the commitments above will be met, this occupation will cease and Roger Hallam will terminate his hunger strike.
If you are on or near the Strand campus on Thursday please come by and show your support!”