WOinActie: Minister Van Engelshoven needs to step down

3 September 2019 - While Minister Van Engelshoven of Education defended her policy a bit further on in the Pieterskerk in Leiden, the initiator of the WOinActie Rens Bod called for her resignation at the Court in Leiden. More than a thousand scientists, support staff, students and administrators who had come to the True Opening of the Academic Year yesterday answered this call with cheers and applause.

The True Opening of the Academic Year was organized by WOinActie, the FNV, LSVb and VAWO to show once again that investments and changes are necessary. The Minister is piling up cuts on cutbacks, as a result of which the extremely high workload has only increased in recent years. But what really made people angry is her intention not to invest, but to shift money between scientific disciplines. All the speakers denounced her division and reigning tactics. Birgit Meyer, on behalf of alpha, expressed the widely supported feeling of alpha and gamma studies being undervalued. Arne Smeets, one of the initiators of 'Petition Beta's against Van Rijn', said that betas do not want 'blood money' and Giselinde Kuipers of gamma emphasized how it is precisely the cooperation between the disciplines that leads to new academic breakthroughs.

The organizers of the Ware Opening of the Academic Year fully agreed with this. Student union LSVb chairwoman Alex Tess Rutten explained how students are sucked into the rat race that academia has become. Paul de Beer, on behalf of the labour unions VAWO and FNV, showed how market forces can undermine the university and Ingrid Robeyns of WOinActie indicated that we must continue to fight. According to her, history has shown that by staking a stand together, change takes place.

VAWO fully agrees. Yesterday's successful action in Leiden with WOinActie, FNV and LSVb alone shows that together we are in a much stronger position. That is why we will continue to fight. In the newspaper NRC of 3 September, Minister Van Engelshoven called her policy 'quick and dirty'. VAWO finds it astonishing that a minister thinks she has to defend her policy in this way. VAWO also continues on insisting that investments are really necessary. Together with other parties, the trade union will continue to make a case for this.