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On Thursday, 19 February, the relief judge of the Amsterdam district court ruled in favour of the UvA after the university initiated preliminary relief proceedings against a group of protestors that have been illegally occupying its Bungehuis building. The ruling means that all protestors must permanently vacate the building as soon as possible.

Louise Gunning-Schepers, president of the Executive Board: ‘We are extremely happy with the outcome. We now hope that the protestors will voluntarily leave the building, and that students and staff will be able to return to the Bungehuis on Monday to resume their teaching and research duties. We will also enter into a dialogue with students and staff in the near future to discuss some of the issues at hand.’ As from Monday, 23 February, the first of a series of weekly meetings will take place between the Executive Board and students and staff. These meetings will take place from 13:30 to 14:30 at the academic-cultural centre SPUI25 (to be moved to a larger room at CREA if needs be).  

 

Previous press release (Tuesday, 17 February)

The University of Amsterdam will initiate a weekly debate in the academic-cultural centre SPUI25, and will simultaneously commence with preliminary relief proceedings against the Bungehuis protestors.

Louise Gunning-Schepers, president of the Executive Board: ‘The reason we are starting preliminary relief proceedings is because we find it unacceptable that hundreds of staff members are being hindered in their duties by a small group of protestors. We have offered an alternative venue, stated our willingness to take part in the debate, all to no avail. In the meanwhile, people want to go to work, research is being adversely affected and lectures cancelled. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.’

The protestors want their demands met before leaving the Bungehuis. These include, among other things, more participation in decision-making and closer involvement in policy-making.

Gunning Schepers: ‘We won’t shy away from this debate – we attach great importance to a discussion about the issues that have been raised. If the student council and works council so wishes, we will be available every week in SPUI25 to answer questions about UvA policy and to take part in the debate with students and staff. We will ask the student council and works council to set the agenda.’  

The weekly discussions can be scheduled to take place on Mondays between 13:30 and 14:30, immediately following the meetings of the Executive Board. ‘SPUI25 is a great location – it is the academic centre for debate for the university and its partners. And these kinds of matters deserve an academic, factual and thorough discussion.’

The University of Amsterdam has an elected student council and an elected works council, which together have a right of consent for different aspects of policy. Representative bodies are also elected at a faculty level: the faculty student council and faculty works council, which have a say in decisions about programmes, teaching and research.

The UvA will send a summons to the court later today. The case will probably be heard this week already.

 

Previous press release (Monday, 16 February)

Despite being offered an alternative site at which to raise their grievances, a group of student protestors from several universities continue to occupy the Bungehuis. The UvA’s Executive Board regrets the fact that students and staff at its Faculty of Humanities are being prevented from taking part in teaching and research.

A group of protestors have been occupying the Bungehuis since Friday morning. Over the last few days, the Executive Board has made numerous attempts to enter into a dialogue with the protestors. To date, these attempts have proven unsuccessful.  

On Saturday, Louise Gunning-Schepers, president of the Executive Board, repeated her wish to enter into discussions with the protestors and reiterated the importance of allowing the normal resumption of teaching and research at the Faculty of Humanities.

Yesterday (Sunday), the president offered the group an alternative site, BG5 at the Binnengasthuis area, as a venue to hold debates, lectures and discussions about some of the issues they would like to raise. The Executive Board emphatically stated its willingness to take part in these discussions and to open the debate the very same day already.

In the meanwhile, hundreds of staff members are unable to go to work today (Monday), lectures need to be rescheduled and study-related meetings have to be cancelled as a result of the occupation. Gunning-Schepers: ‘The protestors are preventing teaching and research from taking place. While it is important to think about and reflect on the university, the latter can be done somewhere else.’   

Immediately following the occupation on Friday, Gunning-Schepers issued an open letter to the protestors calling on them to vacate the building and allow the resumption of teaching and research. They were also offered an alternative venue at which to hold discussions.