On Thursday afternoon, the ASVA student union offered candies at Roeterseilandcampus in exchange for the signature of a letter addressed to the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven. The initiative was part of the National Action Week, which took action from May 22 to May 25.
Tijmen de Vos, a 22-year-old economics and business student at UvA, is the chair of the ASVA student union. “We are protesting because of the student costs,” he explained, “we were told that the money would be invested into education.” On their website, the student association reads “The Minister of Education, van Engelshoven, tries to satisfy students by investing 69 million of the money they got from abolishing student grants. (…) At the same time, she is taking essential money for education away by cutting back 183 million.” Alongside 4 diagrams and graphs to illustrate their opinion, the negative effects the budget cuts will have on the education are mentioned.
For de Vos, the association aims to show “the good side,” or stay optimistic, by handling candies. “Free candies!” they screamed to attract people and give them the opportunity to explain the issue. “This is coming from The Hague,” de Vos said. The association is planning on going there later this month in order to ask them to take action against the cutback.
This issue has been omnipresent this past month around campus. As part of the Night of Protest, about 400 students and staff members gathered last Tuesday at UvA to protest against the budget cuts of the University of Amsterdam for the faculty of Social & Behavioural Science and the faculty of Humanities, in which they believe the quality of education will be the first one to be affected. On June 6, they will gather again for a possible larger demonstration.
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Isabel Bonnet is a 21-year-old second-year student in communication science at UvA. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Amsterdammer. Before its creation, she worked as a photo editor at the Independent Florida Alligator and did an internship at Le Monde.