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Theology students protest 'godless' cutbacks

Priests should not be rushed. And the theology study is a case where the SU reform will not work, claim protesters. Cuts to SU study grants will penalise older, long-studying, students

A group of theology students have blocked the main entrance to the Faculty of Theology, writes

They are protesting against the Danish government’s SU study grant reform initiative, saying that it would particularly affect older students the hardest.

»The goal of the SU-reform is to homogenise the students. They should be young, and quick. This threatens the diversity of the student body«, Anders Martin Lauritsen, theology student to

Priests need experience

He is concerned about the effect that the new rules will have on older students, as he believes they will be put off the education, when they are economically punished for taking too many Sabbaticals. This will have negative consequences.

»This is why the SU-reforms are a hard pill to swallow for those of us used to the culture of the theology faculty. We are composed of very diverse students when it comes to age and background. The average student at our faculty is 37 years-old«.

»Despite the fact that Theology isn’t an education to become a priest, more than 90 percent of our Master’s students end up working as priests. The question is, do we want young priests, that have quickly finished their education?« Lauritsen asks, after which he proceeds to answer his own question:

Govt. wants ‘googlers’

»We want age and human experience for the students, which finish their education, instead of young, unexperienced theoreticians. Life is its own skill, which the educational system does not offer. We are being hurried straight towards ignorance.«

Anders Lauritsen is backed up by Jane Rønnow, a 37 year-old single mother in her third year of theology studies. She is especially critical of the notion that SU will expire if one is delayed by more than half a year in their education. It will not merely affect recipients of the grants, she claims, but will also have an adverse effect on the quality of the graduates the university produces.

»In my experience, the government wants graduates whose main skill is the ability to use Google,« Jane Rønnow says.

African studies allowed past

»If you want graduates developing more skills than Googling, the government must set goals different than ‘young and fast’. The problem is that the ideal on which SU-reform is based, does not suit all fields of study.«

The protesters were were few in number. Perhaps the freezing temperatures o a February afternoon dampened their fervour, though using a banner and some containers they managed to barricade the gate for a few hours.

The Faculty of Theology is the smallest faculty of the University of Copenhagen. Students from the Centre of African Studies, who are administratively a part of the Faculty, are being let through the blockade.

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