Nearby the big red banner of #WOinActie, Ellen Hey stands before her class. In front of her, twenty seven students sit on the stairs, two of them have a laptop on their lap.


Both the ESL professor and the students have to talk harder in order to understand each other. People walk back and forth and the toilet door next to the stairs opens up every time, but the students follow the class and take part in the discussion undisturbed. Some passers-by find the lecture so interesting that they stop and watch the class for a moment.

Students support the action


In general, the students are aware of #WOinActie. “High work pressure, budget cuts and far too many students are the reasons why academics in higher education carry out this action,” says student Joost Vreugdenhil.

Dominique Armfield find it a positive protest. “I think it’s essential to pay attention to the quality of higher education,” she says. “The budget cuts and the heavy workload are the factors that influence the quality of education significantly.”

Inge Widdershoven also supports #WOinActie. “In recent years, there are a lot more students, so the professors have to deal with an increasingly bigger classes. I can imagine that it’s difficult for them to do their job well if the situation doesn’t change.”

After half an hour the class is moved to a room in Sanders building. Vreugdenhil: “Actually, for this cause I really don’t mind sitting on the stairs during the whole class.”


Why this researcher became the driving force behind the academic protest

Interview with Alessandra Arcuri, the driving force behind the #WOinActie at Erasmus…