Trinity College has around £9.1m invested in fossil fuel companiesMaia Wyn Davies

Around 25 members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) staged a peaceful protest outside Trinity College Great Gate earlier this afternoon in opposition to the College’s investments in fossil fuel industries.

Protestors carrying placards, banners, and colourful XR flags, placed a placard reading ‘Keep off the gas’ in front of a Trinity ‘Please keep off the grass’ sign.

Others held a placard reading ‘Keep off our future’.

One student wearing their gown handed out flyers to members of the public gathered outside Trinity Great GateMaia Wyn Davies

The protestors convened outside the Round Church at 1pm, before marching down a busy St John's Street to the College chanting “the children have spoken, the world won’t be broken”.

Among the protestors were multiple Cambridge students in their gowns.

Trinity College has been contacted for comment.

“It isn’t just Trinity,” explained one protestor. “There are tonnes of colleges in Cambridge that have irresponsible investments.”

Protestors carried banners, flags, and placardsMaia Wyn Davies

In November, a Varsity and Cherwell investigation revealed that Trinity College has £9.1m invested in companies involved in oil and gas exploration, production, and refinement - the largest amount of the 45 Oxbridge colleges that responded to Varsity and Cherwell Freedom of Information Requests. Seven Cambridge colleges have holdings totalling £20.7m in such companies, it was revealed.

Another protestor today noted that the walls of the College, outside which they were gathered, were “symbolic of how hard it is to actually get these colleges to listen.”

“That’s why we’re here doing something disobedient,” they continued.

Extinction Rebellion has been calling for responses to the climate crisis across the UK Maia Wyn Davies

In flyers shared by protestors, XR describes itself as ‘an international movement against the climate and ecological crisis.’

The group, founded in October 2018, quickly received international media attention for its use of non-violent civil disobedience to provoke radical responses to the climate catastrophe. Yesterday, around 50 XR protestors blockaded traffic on three main roads into central London.

The flyer argued that Trinity’s continued investment in fossil fuel companies is ‘causing the destruction of the natural world, [thus] creating hardship for millions.’

The protestors sang and chanted as they gathered peacefully outside Trinity Great GateMaia Wyn Davies

Earlier this term, XR protested the visit of the US’s Environmental Protection Agency Head and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to the Cambridge Union, drawing a heightened police and security presence to the Union during his talk.

While XR at the time told Varsity that “people such as Andrew Wheeler [...] will never be welcome in our city”, the Cambridge Union emphasised that the Union had been “able to host one of the world's most powerful people in global climate policy, and the Speakers' Officer and members thoroughly challenged and engaged with his views”.

A spokesperson for the EPA noted that "Administrator Wheeler had a fantastic time interacting with the students and speaking with the various student news publications on hand.”

Pressure on colleges to remove investments from companies involved in oil and gas exploration, production, and refinement continues to grow as more colleges are choosing to divest and consider sustainable modes of investment. 


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Cambridge UCU rallies against Trinity’s withdrawal from USS

Last Summer, Queens' College announced that it would divest its endowment from fossil fuel industries. This was followed in November by Downing College's announcement that it would remove all 'practical investments' from the fossil fuels sector, and by Clare Hall's commitment to full divestment from the sector this March. 

An XR flyer today argued that, in light of these developments, 'divestment is possible'.

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