May 10th 2009

The occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, which started on April 20th, still continues. It has been three weeks since the start of the occupation.

Last week, the Council of Rectors and the University of Zagreb Senate decided that the classes on all occupied faculties (of which there were about 20 at one point, but many have in the meantime resumed normal functioning) must resume as soon as possible. Since all faculties that make up the University of Zagreb are obligated to follow the decisions of the University Senate, the Council of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences decided this Monday (May 4th) to withdraw the support they had previously expressed for the students and the occupation, saying that they still support the students’ demands but also that classes must resume.

The Senate has decided that, since it is not possible to hold classes and lectures at the Faculty because they will be obstructed, the classes will be held at a number of other locations (other faculties) in the city. Over the weekend the schedule has been drawn up, and students are expected to attend classes tomorrow as much as they can (many will be required to travel from one part of the city to another to attend the classes).

The students who are continuing to occupy the faculty will meet tonight at the plenum to decide what further action they will take. On previous days they have discussed the issue of “dislocated classes” and realized that, for various reasons, it would extremely hard, if not impossible, to obstruct and prevent classes that will be held at other locations.

What is important to point out is that a big union strike (in which the union of professors will also participate) is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday (May 12th and 13th), so on those days most classes will probably not be held anyway. The unions are going on strike as a protest against the 6% pay cuts that the government introduced as a measure to deal with the economic crisis. The students have expressed their support to the unions and the planned strike. They will probably join the protest march the unions have planned for May 16th – the day before the local elections will be held.

Also important to mention is that students still receive many letters of support from various organizations and different segments of society. This past week, after the Faculty Council’s decision to withdraw its support, professors of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences drafted an open letter of support for the students which has so far been signed by 130 professors and employees of the Faculty, as well as over 120 professors and employees of other academic institutions and figures from the public and cultural life.

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