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Student protest with sit-in at Rector´s office

Students protested rectors' statements on student grant reform, by inviting themselves to the Rector's office Monday for sit-in protest

A protest by a group of students at the Rector’s Office of the University of Copenhagen Monday was to highlight their indignation at proposals for SU student grant reform, including a recent one from university rectors.

A total of 19 students turned up for the protest, mostly from the Student Council. They were met by Rector Ralf Hemmingsen and university director Jørgen Honoré outside their offices on Central Campus.

The students sat down and ate their packed lunches, a subtle protest against what they see as the threat of dwindling eating opportunities, they said.

Rector: SU debate is in parliament

The government wants to cut DKK 2 billion from the budget on student grants, and the Danish college of rectors (Rektorkollegiet) has proposed an incentive scheme that rewards students financially for speed, penalising the slowest.

Student Council chairman Gwen Gruner-Widding confronted Rector Ralf Hemmingsen at the happening, asking him to explain why the rectors propose this in the context of student grant reform. Earlier she had said to the University Post that »it seems that the rectors lack any understanding of what student life is like«.

Rector Ralf Hemmingsen addressed the students at the sit-in, and said that that the debate on SU is actually on the politics of distributing ressources, and this belongs in parliament. As universities they were concerned with getting students to graduate as fast as possible.

Glad that you have food

The students of the University of Copenhagen University are in fact the slowest in Denmark to graduate, he emphasised.

»There is, in fact, no harm in debating ways to create incentives that can stimulate that students graduate faster,« he said.

Commenting on the packed lunches of the students, Rector said that he was »glad to see that the students could in fact afford to buy food«.

Sixth year is important

The Rector’s Office turned on the charm at the event, welcoming the protesting students with red sodas, coffee and cake.

The charm was lost on the protesters. Many things outside the regular curriculum, like pregnancy, can cause student delays, argued one student of physics.

»It may sound stupid but even stuff like getting yor heart broken can cause a delay, or if you fail exams. The sixth year of SU is really imporant to get students through«.

More photos from the event on our facebook page here.

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