Students’ union calls on UG to repeal house rules for demonstrations

The Groningen Students’ Union (GSb), along with 38 other organisations, has urged the UG to rescind its recently implemented house rules regarding demonstrations.

Among others, the house rules dictate that demonstrators must disperse by 7 p.m., that no photos or videos are allowed to be taken inside university buildings, and that university operations, such as promotions, cannot be disrupted. Failure to adhere to these rules may result in the UG involving law enforcement.

‘The university has a history spanning over four hundred years, and until this year, protest regulations were never deemed necessary. Their imposition should be revoked’, states Ken Hesselink, president of the GSb.

Occupation

The rules, modeled after those of umbrella organisation Universities of the Netherlands (UNL), were formulated in response to the rising frequency of protests within the UG premises. The forceful eviction by the police during the occupation of the Academy building in April last year also contributed to their creation.

The GSb considers the new house rules excessive. Hesselink: ‘You can’t expect protests to conform only to designated areas where they are convenient. That’s not how it works.’

The appeal was co-signed by, among others, the national student union LSVb, all local unions in other university cities and by Amnesty International Student Group.

Criticism

Although the new rules were discussed in the university council and faced significant criticism, the UG board proceeded with their implementation.

On April 8, the GSb plans to host a discussion with students regarding the matter and potential courses of action if the university does not retract the rules. Hesselink suggests, ‘Perhaps staging a deliberate protest where all rules are intentionally violated.’

Incidentally, the new rules are not yet finalised. UG chairman Jouke de Vries previously pledged during a meeting of the the university council that the UG would continue to review them.

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