Edinburgh students stage sit-in after fossil fuels decision

Students angry at institution’s failure to move to full divestment

May 13, 2015

Protesters at Edinburgh attend an earlier demonstration

Students have staged a sit-in at the University of Edinburgh in response to what they described as the institution’s “reckless and irresponsible failure” to fully divest from fossil fuels.

The protesters said that they would remain at Charles Stewart House, an administration building, until the university rethinks its decision to re-evaluate its investments in the coal and tar sands industries only.

In these sectors, Edinburgh said that it will only divest if realistic alternative sources of energy are available, and the companies involved are not investing in technologies that help to address the effects of carbon emissions.

The university will also require companies in which it invests to report on their emissions and they will be benchmarked according to best performance in the sector.

Charlie Jeffrey, Edinburgh’s senior vice-principal, said that the university would “use the leverage of [its] investments to bring about change that reduces carbon emissions in the fossil fuels and other sectors”.

But the occupying students said that Edinburgh should divest fully from fossil fuels within the next five years.

“The fact that our university has chosen to continue funding environmental degradation and human suffering shows that [it] care[s] far more about profit than our futures,” said Kirsty Haigh, vice-president (communities) at NUS Scotland who is a member of Edinburgh’s People & Planet society.

“Saying there may be divestment in the future from certain companies if they fail to meet criteria around their carbon emissions is no real commitment and shows the university [is] refusing to acknowledge [its] role in devastating climate change.”

An Edinburgh spokesman said: “The university fully supports the right of all students to protest lawfully and peacefully. The student body has been represented throughout Edinburgh’s fossil fuels investment policy discussions.”


You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy