May 04th 2009

Students at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences are continuing with the occupation of their faculty. Today is the 15th day of the occupation, which started on Monday, April 20th. The Faculty Council voted today not to support the occupation any longer, although they have stated that they still support the demand for the right to free education for all. The Council asked the students to allow classes to resume, saying that it will provide ways to continue the protest by other means. The Faculty Council is required by law to obey the decisions of the University of Zagreb Senate, which decided on Thursday (April 30th) that it does not support the students’ method of protest and that classes at occupied faculties must be resumed.

The Faculty Council included in their statement the students’ demand (expressed in today’s Open Letter to the Public) for “the initiation of the procedure for the amendment of the law, which would ensure the complete public funding of higher education on all levels. The bill should go for parliamentary reading no later than the first autumn session of the Parliament. We demand that the workgroup for the proposition of this bill be formed as soon as possible and that it includes the representatives of the faculties. This bill must be referred to the scientific and educational institutions to be reviewed by them.”

The Ministry of Science, Education and Sports also reacted today, sending a memo saying that it supports the resturcturing of the model of financing of higher education that was suggested by the Council of Rectors few days earlier. Since the suggestions of the Council of Rectors amount to nothing more but an elaboration of the current model, where free education is available based on the criteria of succesfulness (which is already employed by a number of institutions of higher education), and since the memo of the Ministry is contradictory and ambigious in a way that does not suggest they are willing to respond to the only demand of the students – that free education be available to all – students of the Faculty of Humanities and Socials Sciences voted at the regular plenary session held in the evening that they will not end the occupation yet.

In the open letter to the public which the independent student initiative released today, the minimum demands which must be met in order for students to end the occupation are clearly defined. Until those demands are satisfied, the students are determined to continue with the occupation.

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