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Exeter Uni ban Just Stop Oil activist from grounds in ‘duty of care’ to staff and students

Edred Whittingham was sent a private letter explaining he is banned from University of Exeter grounds and buildings


Exeter alumni and Just Stop Oil activist Edred Whittingham has been banned from the University of Exeter grounds.

Edred staged a protest on the university grounds in July 2023 at his graduation, only a few months after disrupting the World Snooker Championships in April last year.

The university have now issued a letter to the 25-year-old, explaining that they are exercising a “duty of care” to all users of the university including staff, students and visitors, Daily Mail reports.

The ban follows Whittingham’s actions on campus at last year’s graduation, where he interrupted his own ceremony by spraying orange paint across the steps outside the University of Exeter Forum. He was swiftly tackled by campus security and then arrested by police.

Whittingham also partook in another protest in April of last year, when he leaped onto a snooker table at the Crucible Theatre during a match between Robert Milkins and Joe Perry and deposited orange powder on the table.

In the compelling letter addressed to Mr. Whittingham, better known as Eddie on campus, and jokingly referred to by a few as “Dick Whittingham” Mike Shore-Nye begins with, “I am writing to inform you that, due to your activities violating the established rules and regulations of our university, the university has decided to impose a ban on your presence on university grounds effective immediately.”

This is followed by an explanation that the incidents caused by Whittingham “are a cause for concern, and we [the University of Exeter] have a duty to all users of the university, including staff, students, and visitors.”

The letter further emphasises that Whittingham is thus “banned from all University of Exeter property, grounds, and buildings.” Not to break his heart further, but this means he won’t be able to complete the Exeter park run anymore since it goes through university playing fields. Sorry, man.

Mike Shore-Nye leaves Whittingham with a warning, dare I say a threat, that “any breach will be considered as trespass, and the appropriate course of action will be taken should you attempt to access the University in any way.”

Mike Shore-Nye leaves Whittingham with a warning, dare I say a threat, that “any breach will be considered as trespass, and the appropriate course of action will be taken should you attempt to access the University in any way.”

— Just Stop Oil (@JustStop_Oil) February 1, 2024

At the beginning of this month, Whittingham appeared at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court, charged with and pleading not guilty to accusations of criminal damage.

He told the Daily Mail, “I have been arrested six times in one year and have spent a week in prison,” when urging for donations from crowdfunding to support his eco-protests.

The students at the University of Exeter are no strangers to Eddie Whittingham or the presence of Just Stop Oil on campus. Last October, a grand protest was carried out by George Simonson, who sat on and defaced the Forum’s entrance, following the report of Exeter Uni as the largest beneficiary of fossil fuel funding among UK universities.

For Exeter’s student supporters of Just Stop Oil, the ban came as a disruptive shock to a night intended for celebration and unity. On the same day Whittingham received the damning letter, @universityofexeter.vs.oil hosted a “Soup and Solidarity” evening to discuss “the past, present and future of Just Stop Oil’s community of civil resistance”. They wrote on their Instagram story: “Our soup night was rudely interrupted,” indicating they were in part blind-sided by the university’s decision.

And just when you thought their soup night couldn’t get any worse… turns out the soup was vegan.

Instagram Stories posted by the student group claimed that “The University of Exeter should call out the real threats of society: The UK government, which is complicit in genocide by (A) granting new oil licenses and (B) refusing to call for a ceasefire in Palestine.”

It is certain that Whittingham’s endeavours for the near future are focused on his activist work. For some, these actions will persist in raising concerns for the well-being of those on campus and further, while for others, they represent a bold stance aimed at protecting future generations.

The University of Exeter has been contacted for comment.