University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Has the government even read Harry Potter?

Student Council column — The darkness is spreading at the University of Copenhagen just like at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books.

Last Friday I was at Ralf Hemmingsen’s farewell reception. There were many different speakers on the programme, including myself. There was, however, one particular speech that got all the attention.

Agnete Gersing, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry for Education and Research, was to give Ralf a farewell send-off speech on behalf of the Ministry. She used her speech to talk about why it is important to work and find solutions together. As a representative of the students I can only agree with this. We also believe that we can find good solutions together, where everyone takes on responsibility for the development of the University.

The state of the University of Copenhagen is fortunately not on par with what is described in Harry Potter. We still control a lot ourselves, but the darkness is closing in.

During her speech Agnete Gersing used a literary reference to exemplify the good cooperation between the ministry and the education programmes. Agnete Gersing believed that Harry Potter was a good example of how the ministry and the education programmes can huddle together when the darkness closes in.

Should read Harry Potter book

I cannot help but think that Agnete Gersing should have read the seventh Harry Potter book before making this comparison.

In this narrative, Agnete is our counterpart to the J. K. Rowling figure of Dolores Umbridge, who is trying to control how the University of Copenhagen operates and educates its students. In the last Harry Potter book, you can read how the Ministry, which has been taken over by the evil Lord Voldemort, has taken control of Hogwarts, and has put two Death Eaters in place, who both do the teaching and punish the students when they misbehave.

Pind interferes

The state of the University of Copenhagen is fortunately not on par with what is described in Harry Potter. We still control alot ourselves, but the darkness is closing in.

Minister for Education Minister Søren Pind has proposed a new system for the appointment of external board members, which both convolutes the process and involves a ministerial approval.

More importantly, it completely eliminates students and staff from the process. We are allowed to share one measly spot in a nominating committee, while the ministry gets even more influence on both the recommendation and appointment of the university’s managers.

Potter analogies

If the Ministry for Education and Research is the Ministry of Magic, is the permanent secretary Agnes Gersing then Dolores Umbridge?


Education is pushed into the background

My fear is that if no students are involved in finding members of our Board, our education programmes will be pushed into the background to focus on elite research prizes or the number of articles in prestigious journals.

The students shape and create this university every day, and they should therefore naturally also help select members to the board of directors.

So we will have to cross our fingers that the other parties in parliament will help push back the darkness, so we do not get to the state of the last Harry Potter book.