Headed by the Member of the Dutch House of Representatives Sandra Beckerman, last Monday morning a small group of young SP protestors assembled in C Hall. Proceeding to the first floor, they hung up a banner with the slogan “Get the (S)hell out of science!”

“We wish to inform students and academics about the detrimental effect that close ties with the private sector have on the scientific integrity of research,” explained Beckerman. The direct reason for this protest was a recent study performed by the sustainability think tank Changerism. This study revealed the close ties between RSM and companies in the fossil fuels industry like Shell. This relationship allows Shell to influence research and education activities within RSM. According to Beckerman, these ties threaten the independent nature of the research.

The SP demo didn’t last very long. Security was able to remove the banner in less than a minute. And the guards were also quick to respond when the group moved outside to distribute flyers among the students. The ‘reds’ were bundled off the grounds in no time. After all, you’re not allowed to hand out flyers on campus.

‘We’ll be coming back’

“I think this is such a pity,” said a vexed Beckerman. “All this negative publicity about EUR could have been prevented with a civilised debate about science at an earlier stage. Yet today, they’ve once again avoided debate by sending us away. Nevertheless, this remains an important issue for us. So we’ll be coming back – regardless of how often they send us away.”

This Thursday, the Dutch House of Representatives will be discussing the ties between universities and the fossil fuels industry in response to the Changerism study.