Open letter: VCs, refuse Barclays branches return to campus on climate grounds

By: J Clarke
Image reads 'Lock Out Barclays' with a graphic of a padlock

On 26th February, as part of the day of action concluding People & Planet’s 2021 Go Green Week, under the banner ‘Solidarity Across Borders’ students across the country took action in demand of climate justice and in solidarity with global struggles against resource extraction and forced displacement.

As part of the Divest Barclays campaign, People & Planet sent the following open letter to the Vice Chancellors of five UK Universities: Lancaster University, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, University of East Anglia and University Of Sussex.

Dear Vice Chancellor

We, the undersigned, are calling on you to cut ties with Barclays bank.

In the midst of a pandemic, Barclays branches are leaving 5 UK Universities, canceling their leases. This leaves universities in the lurch, and students without essential financial services on campus.

Barclays bank is the biggest fossil fuel funder in Europe, pumping over £100 billion into fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement was signed. There can be no disputing that this bank has no intention of responsible action in the face of a climate crisis locking us into devastation, regardless of rhetoric.

Coronavirus isn’t the only global crisis today – we’re facing full-blown climate collapse. If we’re to stop it, we need to align all our areas of operations, including banking, with serious climate action. Studies show there cannot be any new oil, coal or gas infrastructure constructed anywhere if we’re to stay below 1.5C warming. 

We are making one simple and manageable request: Adopt a policy that makes it clear that Barclays branches cannot return to campus while they remain fossil fuel funders.

We need to send a message: our universities take the climate crisis seriously.

Release a public statement that you will not grant Barclays leases on university property until they cease funding fossil fuel infrastructure.

In hope, determination and sincerity

People & Planet, the UK’s largest climate justice student campaign network


If you would like to take action in solidarity, you can sign the petition demanding UK Universities lock out Barclays branches from campuses.