In the university council, students showed off their intention to go to the climate march by wearing a green square. Photo: DUB

No exemption for UUers for climate march


UU students who want to participate in the climate march in The Hague on Friday, September 27, will not be given an exemption. Employees will have to take the day off. This was announced by the Executive Board. Environmental philosopher has informed his students he will be on strike that day in order to go to the climate march.

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Students will not be granted exemptions for mandatory workgroups or exams so they can participate in Friday’s climate march. Employees will have to take a day off if they wish to join.

During the university council meeting with the Executive Board on Monday, September 23, the students in the council asked whether the board would give students the opportunity to participate in the national climate march in The Hague – in the same way the board had offered for the WOinActie demonstrations. For that event, the UU had even chartered buses. Some student members of the council wore green squares on their clothing to strengthen their request. The square is similar to the red square that symbolises the WOinActie movement which aims to fight workload pressure at universities.

“We care a lot about the environment and we fight for sustainability. However, we’re not going to grant this request,” president Anton Pijpers responded. “A WOinActie demonstration is closer to the heart of the university. If you facilitate this action, you run the risk of receiving even more requests for other sympathetic actions.”

Regardless of this decision, environmental philosopher Floris van den Berg has let his students know his class will be cancelled this Friday. He will also not take the day off, but will go on strike instead. “What’s at stake is the future of humanity on a liveable planet. If we wish to lead a life in the future in which people can go to school and to the university, drastic measures must be taken. I’m doing this precisely because I feel education is so important.”

He has informed his students of this decision and urges them to join him in The Hague. “I am, by the way, making sure students can make up for the missed class. However, given the great importance of this, I refuse to take a day off. I will be going on strike.”

Van den Berg was also involved in the creation of national coalition Scientists4FutureNL. In a statement, fifty scientists write: “The human-created climate change is undeniable and can be seen happening all over the world, for instance in the many instances of extreme weather, the rising sea levels, and the temperature of the ocean.”

So far, the statement has received over a thousand signatures. With the statement, it supports the climate strikers who plan to march down the streets on September 27 to once again demand a more ambitious climate policy.

“As scientists, we have a duty to provide scientific knowledge, but we also have a moral duty to inform society and warn it about the state of our planet, comparable to the moral duty doctors have to warn about impending epidemics,” the Scientists4Future scientists state. It also wishes to bring together concerned scientists to brainstorm about solutions and to talk about the role of science in the climate debate.

Previously, PhD candidate Ana Poças had urged UU scientists in a DUB blog to join the climate march in The Hague.

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