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Various movements within the UvA - the New University, Rethink UvA and the Humanities Rally – have in recent weeks presented their demands to the University of Amsterdam (UvA). In an open letter to all staff and students on Tuesday, 10 March, the UvA presented 10 principles for a new direction. A demonstration has been announced for this afternoon at 17:00 by the New University, among others.

‘We are committed to the 10-point plan and we have said that we will make improvements on these points’, said Louise Gunning. ‘We want to stand united, not in opposition to each other, and we want to involve the entire academic community’. Earlier, the Executive Board made commitments regarding an investment fund for the Faculty of Humanities and appointing a student member to the Executive Board and faculty management.

According to the protesters, some commitments are not sufficiently specific. ‘Some items are very concrete (the right of approval regarding allocations, the decision about the University Library), while other points do still need to be given shape and implemented. We have ideas for this, but didn’t want to fill in everything all at once’, said Louise Gunning.

In the coming period, the Executive Board will hold discussions with delegations of lecturers, students and staff at each of the faculties in order to further implement the improvements. In response to the joint declaration of the New University, Rethink UvA and Humanities Rethink which followed the open letter, the Executive Board sent an email on Wednesday, 11 March to the three movements to invite them to meet to discuss making the principles more concrete. Meetings have also begun with the faculties.

The ten guiding principles

  1. Strengthen participation, the right of approval with regard to the allocation model
  2. Focus on democratisation, by putting forward crucial decisions for discussion and investigating new forms of governance 
  3. Focus on decentralisation, by investing authority in the lowest possible echelons of the university 
  4. Provide total financial transparency 
  5. Present the decision to build a new University Library to the academic community for approval 
  6. Place emphasis on creativity and innovation in education and research priority
  7. Link education with, and value it as highly as, research 
  8. Put a cap on temporary contracts 
  9. Make the Maagdenhuis available for debates
  10. Call on the political establishment to take responsibility