Protest against fossil fuel companies at Career Expo

Today, March 8 University Rebellion protested at the Career Expo against the presence of BP, Exxonmobil and Shell. The fossil fuels companies should not have a place at a career event, they believe. Exxonmobil decided not to show up to the Career Expo. The protest lasted for more than an hour and happened peacefully, in contrast to last year’s edition.

About 25 protesters from University Rebellion gathered in Auditorium to protest against the presence of fossil fuel companies at the Career Expo. At the stand of BP they put a huge banner and in front of the stand of Shell a large group sat down, held up signs and shouted slogans. ‘Cut ties', ‘Shell must fall’ and ‘Fossil Free TU/e’ were a few examples. There were also a few speeches. Employees of Shell and BP just continued their talks with visitors, although the people of 4TU - with a stand next to Shell - decided to move.  

Wounds still fresh

The Career Expo protest this year was again in the Senaatszaal, the same room the protest of University Rebellion last year was abruptly broken up by the police. Computer science student Thea Bradley was one of the three students arrested one year ago during the protest at the Career Expo 2022 in this room and she was also there today. Back then, within a few minutes many police vans arrived at the Auditorium and three students were arrested. The students did not agree with this move of the police and TU/e and they went to court. During the first hearing of the first student the judge was already clear on the topic: the intervention was way too harsh and should have never been called for.

Bradley still has scars of what happened that day in March 2022. “If police shows up, you must have deserved it’, is what a lot of people told me just after it happened. Only when the court judged it was unlawful, the attitude changed a bit, but not enough, especially with the Executive Board. Still till the day of today there haven’t been real apologies. With University Rebellion we joined one of the open University Council meetings where one of us asked a question to get a response on this topic. Then I got this response which to me wasn’t even an apology. Vice-president Nicole Ummelen said: ‘That is why we deeply regret the fact that people felt unsafe that day. For that, we hereby offer our apologies.’ That says nothing about what they have done wrong and what happened under their watch. To the board I’d say: You now need to face and address the consequences of your actions regarding the social safety of your students. Also, they promised back then a document stating the demonstration policy at TU/e. I still haven’t received anything.”


In the way that Bradley feels, she’s not alone, she says. “Not only does our University Rebellion group still think of this often, also it became a threshold to speak to new potentials allies. People are so scared to protest, I first need to convince them they are not likely to get arrested and that all cops have to give three warnings before they put you in a van.”

Today, it was not the case. The TU/e security kept an eye out but let the group protest. The media spokesperson of University Rebellion is happy with this protest: “There seems to be a less aggressive attitude in general and they listen more. Also, people who want to can still access the stands, just like last year. But we hope this protest might make the fossil fuel companies think twice to accept the invitation to the Career Expo next year.”

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