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No pasaran?

Today me and about a thousand of other Dutch professors, this comprising a third of the whole stock, have had a rather unusual day. We put on our ceremonial gowns. We come to the Hauge and made a long procession around the Parlement and central streets. We have filled a rather big concert hall to attend a “special academic session” where high functioniers of education and research gave speeches. Afterwards we have had a fast Dutch lunch and ridden back to work.

It could have been a part of a silly bureaucratic tradition, but it was not. This manifestation was the first in Dutch history. The goal was to express our protest agains the goverment. It has proposed cuts on education and research, while setting as a goal to bring this land to top-5 knowlegde-driven economies. Well, budget cuts are usual. However, this year they are especially painful and unjust. Even the university high brass that is usually ultimately conformistic and collaborative with political elite, went amok. At least they spoke about “deceit of electorate” and cite EUR l0^{10} – 10^{11} losses the economy would suffer as the result of these cuts.

It was a demonstation of a rather unusal solidarity of the whole university community. It was also a demonstration of solidarity with the students that massed in another place in the Hauge later in that day. It went rather peacefully. However, in the end of the day there were reports of mounted police and that with dogs assulting the kids. This does not sound nice, does it.

A rather academic question is if the government will now implement the cuts in their full un-glory, saying “Pasaremos”. Can we strike a compromise or just simply strike together with our students? We’ll see.

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