UCL student climate change protesters disrupt BP recruitment event

BP recruiters reportedly ‘fled’ the event soon after

A group of UCL students staged a protest against British Petroleum (BP) at a university recruitment event last week.

The action, organised by UCL Climate Action Society (CAS), targeted the Engineering Society careers fair, surrounding the BP stand and holding banners displaying anti-fossil fuel messages.

In a press release, CAS claims that BP representatives left the careers fair shortly after, while the protestors followed requests by security to leave.

The action was aimed at disrupting BP and protesting the promotion of careers in polluting industries at UCL.

Protestors took action halfway through the careers fair, surrounding the BP booth with banners reading “Fossil Free Careers” and “BP: Climate Criminals.”

CAS claims that BP recruiters left the careers fair after the protest.

In a press release, it wrote: “BP recruiters fled the scene, abandoning their recruitment stall.”

It also claims: “Security staff were later seen packing away the company’s stall and promotional materials.”

In footage posted on Instagram, UCL security and campus experience staff can be seen turning BP posters to face the wall after the protestors dropped their banners.

Other student activists reportedly engaged with students walking past the protest, disseminating information about BP’s role in pollution and alleged human rights violations.

The action was part of the wider campaign Fossil Free Careers, coordinated by charity People & Planet and staged across several universities.

According to the charity, six universities have committed to the campaign, banning companies from the fossil fuel industry from all careers service activities.

It also reports fifteen students’ unions as having committed to boycott oil, gas and mining recruitment events.

UCL and its SU have not yet committed to Fossil Free Careers.

Ellen Donald, President of UCL’s Climate Action Society, said: “Polluters like BP have no place at UCL. Their climate track record is abominable and their industry is dying… Encouraging students to pursue a career in oil and gas is a denial of this reality. Fossil fuels are being phased out, so let’s get them out of our careers services and off our campuses.”

Meanwhile, a Students’ Union UCL spokesperson defended both Engineering Society and CAS.

They said: “We support our students’ right to legal and free speech, that means both the right of Climate Action Society to challenge and protest BP, and the right of other societies to invite guests to campus.”

This latest protest comes after Just Stop Oil action at UCL earlier this month saw a member of the organisation spray the Portico pillars with orange paint.

In another recent climate change demonstration, UCL Plant-Based Universities dropped a banner in front of the main building on campus.

Universities are under increasing scrutiny for their continued ties with polluting industries, with a recent report finding institutions accepting almost £41m from fossil fuel companies since 2022.

BP, UCL SU and UCL Engineering Society have been approached for comment.

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