UU scientists start petition: no more ties to the fossil fuel industry

Students from End Fossil: Occupy announce another occupation

End Fossil Occupy mei 2023 Foto: DUB
The same group occupied the Minnaert building last year. Photo: DUB

"We are back", says the Utrecht branch of the protest group announced on its social media channels, including Instagram. In May 2023, the climate activists occupied UU's Minnaert building for a few days, holding a series of lectures and debates there. The Executive Board visited the occupation at the time.

In August, EFO was pleased when UU announced stricter rules for its collaborations with the fossil fuel industry. Moving forward, the university is only willing to work with companies that "are intensely and demonstrably committed to accelerating the energy transition".

However, the movement is still far from satisfied as they find there are still too many questions regarding what UU's announcement means in practice. The Executive Board didn't make any promises related to further democratising the university.

Therefore, EFO concludes that it's time to organise more protests. In their view, the discussions going on at the university about the fossil fuel industry are moribund and "democracy on campus is dead". As an example, they mention the Executive Board's refusal to speak up against violence in Gaza.

The group announced plans to occupy "an unused university space" and organise political debates and other activities there.

Scientists for Future
Last week, a committee within the University Council put the university's collaborations with the fossil fuel industry on the agenda once more. According to the Executive Board, an expert group has been set up to come up with concrete criteria to inform collaborations with fossil fuel companies, thus elucidating when this type of collaboration is allowed or not. In addition, the expert group is set to analyse the influence exerted by such companies on UU's education and study associations. A review committee should advise on more complex issues.

During the committee's meeting, it was revealed that Utrecht-based members of Scientists for Future published an online petition last month, underscoring the risks of teaming up with fossil fuel companies and calling for strict guarantees against the act of "greenwashing" activities that are actually polluting the planet. In the petition, which has been signed by over 100 people so far, the scientists pledge support to EFO students.