A JUST Stop Oil supporter has disrupted his graduation ceremony at the University of Exeter as a call for students to take action against the UK Government’s plans to licence new oil and gas projects.
At 1.15pm today, Monday, July 17, Eddie Whittingham (25), was tackled by security as he sprayed a university courtyard orange with a paint-loaded fire extinguisher, while his graduating cohort looked on.
Shortly beforehand he had received his BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He was arrested at the scene.
Eddie is known for high-profile Just Stop Oil actions, including the interruption of the World Snooker Championship in April 2023, where he climbed a snooker table at The Crucible Theatre and released orange-coloured powder.
Speaking before his action today, he said: “My name’s Eddie, I’m 25 years old and I’m about to disrupt my own graduation ceremony. Exactly three months ago, I disrupted the Snooker World Championship. I’m taking these actions because our government has failed young people like me.”
“They have failed to cut greenhouse gas emissions in line with science. They have failed to prepare us for the inevitable disruption that they have caused.
“They’re driving our society towards collapse by continuing to allow new oil, gas and coal. This is a violation of the advice of the International Energy Agency, the United Nations and thousands and thousands of climate scientists all around the world, who have been warning us for years: new fossil fuels means death.
“As a result, one billion people may be displaced from their homes by 2030. That’s seven years away. We face a future of mass-starvation and unimaginable suffering, including here in the UK. And all of this is happening so a small handful of extremely rich people can carry on getting even richer.
“Universities, rather than preparing young people for this inevitable disruption, are instead upholding a status quo that is going to kill millions, if not billions of people. That’s why I’m calling on students everywhere to join us in resistance against this criminal government.
“What use is a university degree if you can’t feed yourself? What use is an ‘education’ if society is collapsing around you? Each one of us has a choice: die quietly or get into resistance. It’s now or never.”
Also arrested was Kostja Junglas (27), a PhD student at Oxford University. They were tackled by University of Exeter security for attempting to hold up a banner to the crowd of graduates.
In 2022, Just Stop Oil says that the University of Exeter began a new partnership with Shell Oil, building on decades of collaboration between the university and the company.
There was cheers and applause from the students gathered when both of the students were detained.