Extinction Rebellion activists lock on to University gate to demand Glasgow University adopts the UofG Green New Deal

Four activists from Extinction Rebellion Glasgow University have locked themselves to the Memorial Gate at the University of Glasgow to demand that the University urgently implements the UofG Green New Deal.

The activists, all students at the University of Glasgow, are calling on the University’s Vice Chancellor Anton Muscatelli to commit the University to implementing the UofG Green New Deal, including all sixty demands which would end the University’s countless ecologically destructive practices.

Vidya Nanthakumar, 21, said, “We have locked ourselves to this gate because we are so frustrated that the University refuses to take the urgent action the climate crisis demands. In their meeting with the Vice Chancellor yesterday, the Green New Deal Coalition were only offered more talk, more dither, more delay. We are already in a climate crisis, we cannot afford to wait.”

Yesterday, the UofG Green New Deal Coalition met with the Vice Chancellor, the Chief Operating Officer David Duncan, and Centre for Sustainable Solutions Director Jaime Toney. No tangible commitments were made, just an offer of further meetings. With a major international climate conference descending on Glasgow and the University soon to conduct an annual review of their “Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan” in November, the Extinction Rebellion activists believe this is the right time to put pressure on the University to take real action.

Eve Sharples, 21, said, “We are dismayed that the University refused to even make a single commitment to real climate action in yesterday’s meeting. We know what needs to be done, the Green New Deal made that very clear when it was published two years ago, yet the University still has no viable strategy to tackle its many ecologically destructive practices. The University must live up to its rhetoric on climate and implement the Deal now.”

About the UofG Green New Deal:

The UofG Green New Deal outlines 60 steps the University can take to act on the climate and ecological emergency and implement more just practices [1]. It was put together by a broad coalition of University societies, students and staff, who collectively researched and devised the 60 demands. Since its publication in February 2020, it has received hundreds of signatures of support from students and staff, as well as official endorsements from the University’s Student Representative Committee (SRC) [2] and the Glasgow branch of the University and College Union (UCU) [3].

The University’s record on climate:

The University published its own Climate Strategy last year after a consultation process with students and staff [4]. Responses to this consultation generally called on the University to go further, with respondents “clearly in favour of the University continuing to divest”, wanting their education to have a larger focus on sustainability, and hoping for the University to improve its utilisation of space. It is clear from the consultation that the University community expects much more ambition from the University’s plans. Student pressure also led to the University bringing its net-zero target forward from 2035 to 2030.

About Extinction Rebellion Glasgow University:

Extinction Rebellion Glasgow University is one of many student societies involved in the UofG Green New Deal Coalition. Formed in 2019, it takes action within the university, the local community and the wider education sector to promote climate and ecological justice. It also takes part in actions to pressure the Scottish and UK Governments to urgently address the climate and ecological crisis.

Extinction Rebellion is a non-violent movement which recognises global governments are failing to tackle the climate crisis. They believe that without urgent action, the world is on course for over 3 degrees of warming, which entails societal collapse and mass loss of life and so call for the Government to:

  1. Tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2025.
  3. Create and be led by Citizens Assemblies on climate and ecological justice.


[1] UofG Green New Deal full document: drive.google.com/file/d/1KFuzcbDjpoROcvwcuQeNPWQxI15Fw5Ua/view

[2] SRC endorsement: glasgowstudent.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/4-210121.pdf

[3] UCU endorsement: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uiYMb1pQJbcKOyv3G61yIYNfI63a63jX/view?usp=sharing 

[4] UofG Climate Strategy: gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/sustainability/climatechangestrategy/consultation