100 hours of Sit-in at the University of Bucharest

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The following message was sent to the ISM (global) mailing list on November 29th:

100 hours of Sit-in
at the University of Bucharest (Romania)
~ stated on November 24th, 6pm ~

Students and others gathered at the SIT-IN at the University in Bucharest.
The banners in the back say „Canes cannot replace ideas” and „Obedience suffocates the conscience”.

On the 24th of November at the University of Bucharest, a public debate over the current state of affairs of education has been organized. To stop the students and others to peacefully debate and protest, the University authorities have sent plenty of private security agents to try to stop the event.

The people present there have refused to leave, stop the debate or comply to the demands of the Rector. Since then, others have joined and for 100 hours the Vasile Parvan hall at the University of Bucharest, has been the privileged space of debate over the current state of education and knowledge management in the Romanian society. Around 500 persons, students, professors and members of the civil society have proved that non-action, passivity and the logic of immediate profit can be overcome.

The issue raised here has not been around what could we obtain if we act, but what happens if we do not. Non-action is in itself a message: it makes legitimate the abusive, inefficient and non-ethical practices at work in society.

Solidarity, participation and identifying solutions have been the basic principles of the debate held here.

100 hours of „HISTORY IS BEING OCCUPIED AND DEBATED” ends tonight.

It continues through „THE UNIVERSITY IS BEING OCCUPIED AND DEBATED” and other protests spread around the country.

In solidarity with the Global Month of Action, we call for support and dissemination of our protest.

POSITION

The University should be a fundamental place of debate.

A space of critical thinking over the concepts, objectives and methods of the present.
The decision-makers are presently suffocating its discourse and practices, subordinating it in spite of the official discourse in support of university autonomy.

The University has become a sterile space, lacking ideas, beliefs and ideals.
The only purpose of it today is to produce individuals with diplomas.
Knowledge and free access to education are inalienable rights of everybody.
Any form of monopole over these is unacceptable, as any form of commodification of education.
We denounce the culture of obedience promoted in the local educational system!
We reclaim the autonomy of knowledge! Personal development, intellectual formation, research and the development of critical thinking are common goods that cannot be taken over by private interests.
We reclaim the University! We want the role of the University to be one of reflection over society as a whole, and not just to answer the requests of the market.
We need an open space of dialogue and social cohesion.
We claim the University because we want to restore its original vocation of a dynamic space of a multitude of ideas, capable to critically analyse the present in search for a better future.

PROBLEMS AND DEMANDS

Education should represent the first priority of the state. We demand the implementation of the National Pact for education, which specifies according 6% for education and a minimum of 1% for research of the GDP.
We ask for a reform of the university programs (50% of the canonical core should be decided by the senate, and 50% should be chosen by the students from either theoretical courses or courses with practical applicability).
We demand that students be able to participate freely in the meetings of the Faculty Council and of the University Senate, as well as have access to the agenda of topics that are to be debated and to the meeting notes.
The university belongs to all. Everyone must be able to participate in the events and courses of the university, not just students.
We wish that the University does not represent a space of discrimination, oppression, humiliation. We must be able to raise, discuss and discourage these attitudes.
We want access to a real process of solving these problems, which offers dignity and protection to those involved.
We demand the introduction of an exam-based admission (with a project, practical test, etc.) for all three education levels (day courses, reduced frequency, long-distance learning).
Students and teachers are equal partners in the educational process. We ask for the compulsory evaluation of professors by students. The results must be public and taken into consideration.
We demand that students representatives be elected for a period of 1 year and 6 months, with 2 weeks of campaigning, and that voting be held for a week for the entire daily program of courses.
We ask that students have access to the University at night based on a student ID or card. We ask that the Central University Library be open to everybody and also by night.
We demand that the relevant authorities research abusive measures taken against those people who wished to take part in the public debate "University and its civil role" on November 24 2011.

THE SOCIAL CONDITION OF THE STUDENT

We demand that the state increase its subventions for scholarships. The current sum allocated to each person is not sufficient for a decent living. We consider unacceptable this systematical humiliation applied to students.

THE SOCIAL CONDITION OF THE PROFESSOR

The current status of professors is below the acceptable level of human dignity. Moreover, the remuneration is unacceptable, contributing to a drastic decrease in the quality of education.

Follow us on fb group: ISTORIA SE OCUPA & SE DEZBATE, and twitter #ocuisto, #istorie. (mainly in Romanian)

More details are also available on sarahinromania.canalblog.com