Climate activists also want to occupy TU Delft

Action group End Fossil is going to occupy educational institutions worldwide in May. There are also plans in Delft. TU Delft calls it ‘regrettable’.

Vice-rector Rob Mudde receives a stack of scientific papers and newspaper articles from TU Delft student Emre Gökalan during the Dies in January. (Photo: End Fossil)

The End Fossil activists maintain their demand that universities and universities of applied sciences must be fully transparent about their ties with the fossil industry and want them to terminate all cooperation.

“The fact that in 2023 universities still have companies like Shell proudly parading around at career days shows how badly our actions are needed,” End Fossil argues. “A company that is destroying our future should have no place at a university that should be preparing us for the future.”

Therefore, students will occupy universities and schools throughout May, End Fossil has announced in a press release. It would involve ‘more disruptive forms of civil disobedience’, than in previous international actions. The Dutch branch of End Fossil now has local groups in Delft, Utrecht, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Leiden and Velp.

Buildings at the University of Amsterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam and TU Eindhoven have previously been the scene of occupations.

‘This is our way to increase the pressure’

In his response to parliamentary questions by the Socialist Party (SP), education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf endorsed on Wednesday that universities should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to cooperate with fossil fuels companies such as Shell. However, administrators must ensure that ‘the independence of academic teaching and research and academic freedom are then sufficiently guaranteed’, a standard requirement.

According to university association UNL, individual universities do indeed decide for themselves with whom they cooperate. They say they are open to talks with action groups. They are organising gatherings and debates on the issue and inviting them to attend.

TU Delft organised another deliberation on the topic on 5 April, after the Executive Board had previously met several times with End Fossil activists. Yet there are also plans for an occupation in Delft, as yet undisclosed. Moreover, as far as End Fossil member and TU Delft student Emre Gökalan is concerned, the talks will continue. “This is our way to increase the pressure, because we see no real ambition from the board to cut the ties and it seems unlikely to happen soon.”

On TU Delft’s behalf, communications director Joost Ravoo said the plans are ‘regrettable’. “We feel that we have a good dialogue with End Fossil and that we listen well to each other.” According to Ravoo, TU Delft is ‘always open to dialogue and everyone is welcome to demonstrate’. “But we are very, very much opposed to occupations, other forms of trespassing or violence. That will put pressure on the future relationship of cooperation.”

HOP, Peer van Tetterode/ Delta, Saskia Bonger

Editor in chief Saskia Bonger

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