In recent years, universities have been at the centre of a vigorous debate about the role of higher education in society. In particular, concerns have been raised about the effects of commercialisation of Australian universities on academic freedom and the quality of teaching. This paper explores the increasingly close relationships between Australian universities and the fossil fuel industries. It asks whether fossil fuel companies are gaining an inappropriate level of influence over the teaching and research priorities of universities. Is academic freedom jeopardised? Are the relationships with the industry threatening to bring universities into disrepute? Are universities being captured?