Talks between Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan, the UvA’s Executive Board and the Bungehuis protestors have failed.
‘After our meeting on Sunday we came with a proposal to organise a joint debate marathon about some of the current issues at hand. We thank the negotiators for their efforts, but regret the fact that their fellow-students were unable to give their consent. We believe in the debate marathon because it deals with important issues. We will therefore press on with this initiative,’ said Louise Gunning, president of the Executive Board.
Gunning: ‘In a last-ditch effort to find a solution to the deadlock, the mayor on Sunday called on us and the protestors to talk to each other. I regret the fact that these talks were unsuccessful, because the Bungehuis is essential for teaching and research.’ In the summary relief proceedings that were held last Thursday (19 February), the judge also ordered the protestors to vacate the Bungehuis building.
Some of the topics that were to be discussed in the proposed joint debate marathon included: the Humanities reform plan, democratisation / referenda, returns vs. quality, and part-time contracts vs. fixed contracts. The plan was to hold the debate marathon in the Bungehuis, with both protestors and the Executive Board acting as host. ‘We are now going to organise it on our own. I am still convinced about the importance of discussing these issues. The Strategic Agenda for Higher Education, Research and Science (Strategische Agenda hoger onderwijs, onderzoek en wetenschap) will be released in the summer of 2015. We would like to make a positive contribution to it,’ said Gunning. ‘We call on all parties involved, such as the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), politicians, other universities, student organisations, Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and representative bodies to take part in the debate.’
The debate marathon will be held in addition to the agreed upon weekly meetings between the Executive Board and students and staff in CREA.