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Ralf Hemmingsen will most likely have to find a new place to work from - student activists are planning to occupy his office Thursday. (updated)
The student activists Et andet universitet (Danish for A Different University) strike again. Or will do soon, they say. The group will occupy the office of University of Copenhagen rector (UCPH) Ralf Hemmingsen office in Nørregade 10.
In November of last year the group blockaded the Department of Media, Cognition, and Communication at KUA.
“It’s our university and now we’re taking it back,” says spokesman Magnus Esmark, who studies Law at UCPH. According to flyers on campus the occupation will take place the morning of Thursday 16 April.
Approximately 20 of the group’s members planned the course of action and put their academic and political motivation to paper at a meeting on Tuesday. The activists expect that support for the protest will grow once it starts, so they plan to continue indefinitely or until their demands are met.
According to Magnus Esmark the protest isn’t just about being unhappy with the controversial Study Progress Reform and Resizing Model: Et andet universitet believes that a series of reforms from the last 10-15 years have turned the university into a factory aiming to churn graduates out as fast as possible, so they can increase profits in the private sector.
“We want the university to produce free knowledge that isn’t controlled by the private sector for the benefit of everyone. We want to create a true democracy for students and staff at the university, and rid the university board of businessmen,” says Magnus Esmark.
Magnus Esmark acknowledges that Rector Ralf Hemmingsen has argued against the consequences of the Study Progress Reform and Resizing Model and that the reform has been developed by politicians, but still believes that it’s fair to occupy the rector’s offices.
“The universities have been complicit administrators of the system. They’ve never seriously dug their heels in and refused to implement destructive policies,” he says.
The activist group has also planned similar protests at Aarhus University and Roskilde University.
According to KUnet.dk, the UCPH intranet, Rector Ralf Hemmingsen will not be there, as they are away. But university director Jørgen Honoré and Thomas Bjørnholm will be there.
Honoré calls on staff not to get into conflict with the students.
“Experiences from earlier demonstrations has shown us that we can achieve some agreement with the demonstrators on which rooms we can use and how. I recommend that staff do not attempt to breach the blockade, and that they avoid all confrontations with the students,” he says.
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