Stop the Strike Spreading!
Tales from a student blockade: Danish students protesting for academic diversity
by Mille Thorbøll
Dear Aberdonian students.
The rumours of an upcoming strike at the university have reached your friends at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. We fully support your battle as we are currently in the middle of a strike ourselves. At this moment, the students at the faculty are blocking the Dean’s corridor as a protest against the plan of merging several culturally important degrees into bigger, generalized ones. We cannot accept this! Allow me to tell you a little bit about our battle against academic and cultural generalization:
The sound of the ‘Hamilton’ soundtrack hits you before you see where the music comes from. You follow the sound and as you turn around the corner you are greeted with a wonderful sight: in front of the main entrance to the faculty’s management, a group of students are listening to music. But they are not just hanging out - they are protesting for the rights to a good education. Since the 28th of October the student council of the faculty of humanities (HumRådet) have been protesting against the plan, proposed by the dean, of merging several courses to bigger and more generalized educations.
One of the biggest and probably most extreme merges in the proposal, is the one at the institute of English, Germanic and Romance languages: which would make it impossible for students to study English culture and language, among others, as independent majors, and instead study European languages as a broad course without specialization. It would also inevitably lead to the firing of academic staff, of which we already have too few. It is a suggestion proposed entirely by the Deanship of The Faculty of Humanities, completely against the advice both from students and professors, and now the students have had enough!
For almost four weeks the students of the humanities have maintained a blockade of the administration corridors, and have therefore been sleeping, eating, and studying there to make clear their disapproval of the merging of courses. During that time, we have been called ‘whiny’ by our own principal, and compared to noisy and loud children. We have been criticized for making it impossible for administrative employees to work, when they are making it impossible for us to study under the circumstances proposed. We fear that the cuts in humanity studies indicate a broader tendency spreading in Denmark and in the rest of Europe, which we consider very problematic. Despite the adversity, our fighting spirit and moral is still high as we continuously believe in the battle we are fighting. A battle for academic and cultural diversity, and a battle for a good university. For we are NOT here to make a fuss. We need you to be aware of what is happening at our university right now, so you make sure it does not happen at yours.