'If nothing changes, new occupations will follow'

Climate activists continue to put pressure on UU

bezetting fossil end occupy foto DUB
Photo: DUB

"The less action they take, the more we will do." That's the warning given by the action group End Fossil: Occupy (EFO) to UU's administration.

In an e-mail message to DUB's editor, the activists say that they appreciate the extensive response Utrecht University's Executive Board sent them last week. In the document, UU presents an overview of all its partnerships with fossil fuel companies. "However," the activists write, "we are still missing a lot of things."

Not enough self-reflection
EFO had asked the university to come up with a plan on how it intends to meet the action group's demands. This plan should be presented by May 31. Their main demands are for the university to sever ties with the fossil fuel industry, for more transparency on how UU will combat climate change, and for the university to become more democratic. 

The student members of the action group feel that UU's response still shows too little self-reflection. "If we had been satisfied with how things are now, we would not have founded our movement," they explain.

Direct influence
The e-mail to DUB is mostly about how decision-making and co-determination should be established at the university. This is where EFO differs from UU's administration. "We ask for direct democracy, for students and employees to have real influence."

For example, UU believes that students and employees have been able to extensively express their views during two "deep democracy" sessions on the "value framework" for cooperation with companies that will be presented by August at the latest. But the student activists do not think this goes far enough. They believe that a team of students and staff should draw up the principles for such a framework, not UU's administration.

"We are not yet satisfied and certainly not done," the activists conclude.