Titus Stahl

Open Letter from Amsterdam Protesters

A group of students has occupied the Bungehuis at the University of Amsterdam to protest against budget cuts and to demand more democracy at Dutch universities. It seems that the administration is now threatening the occupiers with heavy fines.

There is now an open letter (that I have signed) that objects to these measures. Independently of what one thinks of the instrument of occupation, a university should not react to political speech and expression of its students by criminalizing it.

The aims and methods of the protest are, of course, not shared by everyone but occupying a university building is a time-honored part of the repertoire of student protest, and while it may be understandable that the university tries to use legal means to get the occupying students out of the building, resorting to criminalization and financial threats of such magnitude against them is disproportionate and unjustifiable.

There is also a Facebook page (please do not use Facebook, it’s a bad idea to record all your political activities in a central database controlled by a commercial corporation and accessible to intelligence services!) and an Indiegogo campaign.