Three arrests after climate protest at Career Expo
University Rebellion today carried out a protest against Shell during the Career Expo held at TU/e. Almost twenty people converged on the Shell stand in the Auditorium building, carrying placards and flyers. In a display of force, the police entered the building and ordered the demonstrators to leave. The three who failed to obey were arrested.
It remains unclear whether the three TU/e students will be prosecuted, and if so, on what grounds. A police officer at the scene initially mentioned ‘trespassing’ as the reason for instructing the students to leave. It was subsequently disclosed that students are permitted to be at the university provided they comply with the rules, and this they did not do. Precisely which rules were breached, the officer declined to say.
The climate activists at University Rebellion (UR) installed themselves in the Senate Room in front of the Shell stand in order to demonstrate against the notion that TU/e was offering the fossil fuel giant a platform. Disruption to the careers fair prompted Recruitment Days staff, the board committee organizing the two-day Career Expo, to call security. University Rebellion is calling on TU/e to 'break its ties with the fossil fuel industry and, specifically, to stop providing a platform at career events to representatives of the most harmful industry of all', as the Eindhoven branch of University Rebellion announced in its press release. The Shell employees appeared unimpressed by the protest and continued their conversations with potential new colleagues without batting an eye. But the demonstration did draw glances from visitors, other standholders, students and TU/e employees.
UR is not calling it a day and plans to continue demonstrating until TU/e takes action. 'Not only do their emissions outstrip those of other industries, these companies are incredibly slow in addressing their carbon emissions', as UR writes in its press release. 'Every one of them spends more than 40 million dollars a year on toning down climate policy while betraying the general public with deceptive commitments regarding carbon neutrality. These companies must not be given a platform here to entice fresh graduates.' UR spokesperson for this protest, Yra Kurstjens, a student at the Department of IE&IS, says she is shocked by the arrests. “We are here among students, doctoral candidates and academics,” says Kurstjens. “This generation is done with this policy. It can’t go on and something must change.”