Vice chancellor Freeling expressed his "deep anger and frustration" about the incidentTobia Nava

University vice chancellor Anthony Freeling condemned the vandalism of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (CEB) front door in a letter sent to students and staff earlier this week (08/02).

In the letter, Freeling expressed his “deep anger and frustration” about the incident, describing it as “reprehensible” and expressing his concern about the vandalism being an “attack aimed to intimidate and discourage students and staff who are determined to contribute to the University’s mission of excellence in education and research.”

Freeling’s letter follows an incident last week where members of the group “This Is Not a Drill” smashed the department’s front door. The group tried to justify this action by citing the department’s ties to fossil fuel funding and alleged “lobbying” by the department to delay a motion to stop the University receiving funding from fossil fuel companies. A spokesperson for the University has made it clear that members of the department are not involved in lobbying.

The vice chancellor was not unsympathetic to the principles of the action, telling students: “We all share the goal of tackling the urgent challenge of climate change”, yet condemned the group’s actions as “an act of pointless vandalism that does not advance the cause allegedly espoused by those individuals who undertook it.”


Mountain View

Climate activists smash Chemical Engineering department front door

The head of the affected department, Clemens Kaminski, described the incident as “a sad reflection of the times we live in” but noted his reassurance from “the University leadership taking such a clear position in condemning such action.”

In his letter, Freeling also announced that the University is increasing security on the West Cambridge site in light of the incident, which is expected to continue “for the foreseeable future”.

Activists from the group had taken similar action against the Schlumberger Gould research centre and the BP institute, which has since been renamed, on the site last term.