Members write critical poem
Fraternity calls on students to disobey more often
On the porch of S.S.R.-N.U's headquarters one can find, in a somewhat hidden place, a poem by Ingmar Heytze about UU's introduction week, UIT. The plaque was gifted to the association by the poet himself on the occasion of the 2017 literature festival Outside Senses. Earlier this month, the plaque was briefly covered by another poem titled In Retrospect, which denounces the hypocritical attitude of the city's residents toward university students.
The parody was written by members of the N.E.P. fraternity, who subsequently sent a press release to several news outlets, including DUB, to explain their intentions. DUB spoke with one of the members, the Math & Physics student Rens van Dam.
Rens says that ever since its foundation, during the Second World War, N.E.P. (the meaning of the acronym remains a secret) has been “provoking with a deeper layer.” These provocations are not limited to affairs restricted to the student association itself.
For example, members regularly send letters to companies and government officials about a variety of issues. However, according to the student, they rarely receive a serious response. Rens thinks it's a shame that it’s so hard for college students to be heard by important people and organisations. Especially because it hasn't always been this way: "The lines of communication have become longer over the years."
Drunk and annoying
The student adds that the main reason for targeting Heytze's poem is the mocking, negative picture it paints of students. In Rens' view, that's the image many Dutch people have of college students: they're drunk and annoying.
That's why they find that most people – the "eight million wolves" from their own poem – do nothing when students are "wronged". The parody enumerates recent examples of this injustice, such as the loan system, the measures to contain Covid-19 and the lack of compensation for the rising prices of electricity and gas.
The university as a factory
But students themselves often don’t do anything about these issues either, according to the fraternity. The poem's authors think students should be much more disobedient. They also argue that, with its mounting pressure, the university has turned into a "factory to produce workers."
Rens adds that, back in the day, when it was still possible for students to stay at the university much longer, they used to be much more shaped into critical citizens. That's why N.E.P's members would like to see more students acting according to the fraternity's conviction: "If you have an opinion, you should do something with it."
The parody has since been removed by order of the association's board. In Rens' view, that's understandable but a pity nonetheless. “In the end, it was just a poem by a fraternity.”
Heytze's poem (pictured below) is on display again on Oudegracht.