From Fossil Free Melbourne University: Students and alumni at the University of Melbourne have staged a mock oil spill outside the university’s administration building, protesting the university’s investments in what they say are “21 of Australia’s most polluting fossil fuel companies”.
Dressed in HazMat suits, several actors pretended to clean up a “spill” made of black plastic, with blackened toy animals and oil barrels placed around the scene.
The action coincided with a meeting of the University Chancellery Executive, who are set to pass a draft Sustainability Plan.
“The University claims that their Sustainability Plan will be holistic, but we have received no indication that divestment will be in the plan ,” law student Matt Clare said. “How can you preach sustainability and environmental responsibility, while continuing to prop up some of the most destructive companies on the planet? We need to move away from fossil fuels and divestment is a critical step.”
Bachelor of Arts student Aoife Nicklason said the sustainability plan had been pitched as a co-designed document involving students.
“During the consultation period for the University’s Sustainability Charter, 55% of all public submissions were ones specifically calling for divestment. We are disappointed that the University does not seem to be listening to the desires of their students and alumni.”