McClaughry: Student climate protest at Oxford

By John McClaughry

According to the school newspaper, students at prestigious Oxford University in the UK have been occupying St. John’s College since Wednesday in protest of the school’s investments in fossil fuels. Dozens of students have reportedly set up camp in the front quad with signs and banners, vowing to remain until their demands are met.

Two of the students sent a stern letter to the manager of the school’s financial affairs, Professor Andrew Parker, demanding that the college declare a climate emergency and immediately divest from fossil fuels companies.

Professor Parker responded, “I am not able to arrange any divestment at short notice,” he wrote. “But I can arrange for the gas central heating in college to be switched off with immediate effect.”

According to the Times of London, one of the students wrote back criticized Parker for not taking the matter seriously. Parker responded, “You are right that I am being provocative but I am provoking some clear thinking, I hope. It is all too easy to request others to do things that carry no personal cost to yourself. The question is whether you and others are prepared to make personal sacrifices to achieve the goals of environmental improvement.”

The student leader replied that, “It’s January and it would be borderline dangerous to switch off the central heating.”

Yeah, right, more climate hypocrisy: Let somebody else suffer to save the planet.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Greg Goebel

2 thoughts on “McClaughry: Student climate protest at Oxford

  1. Bravo. Someone with intelligence and a backbone. I’d have complied with their demands and shut the heat off anyway. After their chilled, fellow, non participating colleagues gave them a severe blanket party, they’d learn to keep their mouths shut.

  2. It’s encouraging to see at least one college administrator trying to teach a real life lesson rather than to fold to a few screamers in the student body for fear of hurting their feelings.

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