Students demand universities divest from fossil fuels

Issue 
Murdoch students' action calling on the university to divest from fossil fuels. Photo: Fossil Free MU/Facebook

In a week of divestment actions, dubbed “Flood the Campus” starting on April 18, students across Australia took action demanding their universities divest from fossil fuels as a step towards tackling climate change.

Initiated by 350.org, the protest was supported by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), environmental collectives, Resistance clubs among others.

University of Queensland started the week with a dozen students occupying the vice-chancellor's office all day, only leaving when the university's chief operating officer gave them a signed letter offering a meeting with the vice-chancellor and agreeing to take the issue to the university Senate.

Melbourne University students locked onto barrels and blocked all entrances to the chancellor's office, demanding the university immediately freeze all investments in fossil fuel companies. The previous day they did a naked photo shoot on one of the buildings with words painted onto bodies saying “drop your assets”.

Students at the University of New South Wales have been holding an ongoing occupation of the chancellor's office after the vice-chancellor refused to meet with them. This was despite students presenting them with a petition signed by more than 1300 students and 150 staff. Students are sleeping there overnight.

Fossil Free Murdoch in Perth also held an action in solidarity with actions in the eastern states. Their naked photo shoot had the words “Hey unis reassess + divest” inscribed on participants' butts.

Other universities, including in Tasmania, the Queensland University of Technology and Monash, also held actions.

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