During the past week, attention at UvA was drawn to the budget cuts, their consequences for education, and the protests against it. The WOinActie-Week started with ‘Yet Another Night of Protest’ on Monday and ended with the ‘March of Education on 2.0’ on Friday, culminating in the dramatic events that unfolded at PC Hoofthuis.
The Amsterdammer reported in an earlier article that, according to ASVA head Alba van Vliet, ‘Education 2.0’ stands not only for the fact that it is already the second march of that kind, but also for “a new way of education, an education that should be invested in instead of cutting the budget for it because everyone should get the best education possible.” Van Vliet described how the protests on Friday were an attempt to demonstrate that ambition and to “show the importance of education.”
On Friday, 28 September 2018 at 11:45, a group of more than 50 people, most of them students, gathered between the Oudemanshuispoort and the Binnengasthuis Straat. At midday, the ‘March of Education 2.0’ began. The group marched through the city up to the PC Hoofthuis which was already occupied by students the previous night. On the way, more people joined the march accompanied by drums and banners saying ‘Student solidair’ as they chanted for more attention and money for education. The discontent and unhappiness regarding the government’s budget cuts and their effects on UvA and education filled the atmosphere of the march and provided the undertone of the afternoon’s demonstration.
Anette and Mercedes, two 21-year-old students at the Amsterdam University College are dissatisfied with the current funding circumstances, explaining how they “came here for the protest because they want to raise UvA’s awareness about the fact that they cannot accept the budget cuts”. The pair also echoed the frustrations held by many marching on Friday about the cuts’ implications, “education and other topics like diversity are important and therefore we are here today.”
Lisa De Lange and Casper Boks are part of the ASVA Student Union and took part in the organization of the march and the WOinActie-Week in general. They explained how they “were organizing this week to protest against the budget cuts, to raise awareness of the financial situation” and to inform students “so that everyone can actively support that this cannot be happening.”
If the lectures and protests during the WOinActie and the ‘March of Education 2.0’ will be able to actually affect the government’s decision is not clear yet. What can be stated for sure is that student organizations, including the ASVA and the Humanities Rally, will not stop in their fight to raise students’ awareness of the budget cuts and their destructive impacts.