The Socialist Party (SP) left 200 rubber ducks behind on Campus Woudestein on Monday evening. This was in protest against the ban on distributing pamphlets on campus imposed on political parties.

Members of the Socialist Party were walking around on campus the preceding Tuesday with a huge rubber duck and pamphlets to publicise their debate on ‘Toilet-Duck Science’, held Monday evening on campus as well. An RTV Rijnmond television crew filmed them distributing pamphlets.

sp badeendjes starbucks ineke palm en jasper van dijk
SP’ers Ineke Palm en Jasper van Dijk poseren met de badeendjes voor de Starbucks. Image credit: Tim Ficheroux

“A university should be a place where you can discuss openly about science, not just a place where you see a Shell logo next to the face of Erasmus”, Sandra Beckerman says. She organizes debates at various universities about the independence of science. “It’s ironic that companies like Shell and Starbucks are welcome on campus, but an innocent bathtub duck that wants to defend the independence of science is not.”

 

'Politically neutral’

It turned out later on that the SP hadn’t got the university’s permission to make videos or hand out pamphlets. EUR only allows student associations to hand out pamphlets on campus, provided they have asked the university’s permission beforehand. But EUR never gives political parties permission to do this because – as the university informed the SP in an e-mail – it wants to remain ‘politically neutral’. The university doesn’t want the SP to use their video to promote the party either ‘if the EUR logo can clearly be seen’.

The SP responded by sending an open letter to the university accusing it of allowing all kinds of companies to run promotion activities on campus during events like the Recruitment Days.