On Tuesday night, the police put an end to the occupation of the Academy building. Dozens of students had been blocking the stairs since noon, protesting the lack of social safety they feel exists at the university.
They also demanded that the UG reinstate social safety expert Susanne Täuber.
Täuber was recently fired by the UG for a ‘long-term damaged working relationship’. The university says Täuber is difficult to work with and violated agreements multiple times. However, she maintains she was blackballed after she’d published an article in the Journal of Management Studies about career opportunities for women at the university.
The UG called the police around 8 p.m. because the protesters ‘refused to heed several requests to leave the university’. Officers then removed the students from the Academy building.
Approximately sixty students, referring to themselves as Occupy RUG, started their protest on Tuesday around noon at the steps in front of the Academy building while their representatives talked to the board of directors. This was part of an agreement the protesters and the board had reached after the previous occupation a month ago.
But when it became clear later in the afternoon that the UG would not meet their demand concerning Täuber, the protesters moved into the central hall. ‘A campaign for social safety is meaningless if they don’t reinstate Susanne’, said one student who wants to remain anonymous. ‘People still don’t feel safe.’
The group also occupied the Academy building on March 22, but left after the board promised to listen to them. Afterwards, the UG announced a new social safety campaign, which launched on April 17.
‘By fighting for Susanne’s job, we’re also fighting to make sure that both students and staff feel safe enough to say something when they’re being harassed’, said another student. ‘We’re fighting to make the university as a whole a safer place.’
The UG says it regrets that ‘we weren’t able to come together to have an open and constructive dialogue about how to improve social safety at the UG’. According to the board of directors, ‘their (Occupy RUG) non-negotiable demand that Susanne Täuber return to the UG’ was the breaking point.
‘Because of privacy laws and the codes of conduct at the university, we can’t and won’t discuss individual cases involving students or staff’, the UG board said in a statement.