The WOinActie (‘Higher Education on the Barricades’) protest movement decided to organise the demonstration when it became obvious that the Dutch Lower House was unwilling to undo the previously announced cuts to the national education budget. Tertiary education institutions will be hit particularly hard by the budget cuts, as their budgets will be slashed by an additional 19.5 million euros.
Amsterdam VU University’s spokesperson stated that the university had supported WOinActie in the past, ‘and we will continue to do so’. VU University’s Executive Board will attend the demonstration on the Malieveld field and will make funds available to demonstrators, some of which will be spent on transport to The Hague.
The University of Amsterdam has promised demonstrators a sum of up to €3,000. In addition, neither students nor lecturers will be required to attend lectures and seminars on Friday, 14 December, meaning they are free to travel to the site of the demonstration. For their part, the universities of Maastricht, Utrecht and Leiden will all make a financial contribution to the demonstrators’ bus journeys.
Groningen University will not fund the trip, but will grant its lecturers the opportunity to make their own way to The Hague. Delft University of Technology and the University of Twente sympathise with the demonstrators, as well, but would not comment on whether they intend to give their staff and students the day off.
Radboud University Nijmegen indicated that it would like to do so ‘in principle’, but is worried that other lecturers and students may be inconvenienced by the absence of those who plan to travel to The Hague, and is seeking a way to prevent such inconvenience. The university’s Executive Board will therefore not actively encourage members of its community to join the demonstration, nor will it organise buses for them. It prefers ‘other ways of serving the interests of proper education and research’ and was quick to draw our attention to VSNU’s bottleneck analysis, which the Dutch universities are still discussing with the Minister for Education.
Will EUR support the demonstration?
It is not known at present whether Erasmus University’s Executive Board will support the demonstration. “It is the subject of much discussion,” a spokesperson told us.
When Rotterdam-based academics taught open-air lectures during the nation-wide action week in September, the Executive Board expressed its support for the demonstrating academics on the very same day.