News - July 24, 2020

Huge banner on crane urges WUR to state position

Text:
Coretta Jongeling

The climate activist group Extinction Rebellion has hung an enormous banner from a crane on the campus as a ‘friendly reminder’ for the university.

The activist group says it has done this because WUR has so far failed to make a statement about its collaboration with the private sector.

The banner was hung up early last Tuesday morning near the new education building Aurora, which is still under construction. ‘Another WUR is possible,’ the banner announces. Meaning primarily a WUR that collaborates less with large multinationals such as Unilever, which is what Extinction Rebellion wants to see.

Statement
Extinction Rebellion held a protest in Atlas on 2 July against the arrival of Upfield and other companies on campus. The group demands more transparency about the conditions for collaboration between the university and the business world. The activists want to see clear guidelines on the basis for the university’s decision on whether to collaborate with a particular organization. They also want to see more information on whether WUR involves students and staff in decisions about companies on campus. According to Extinction Rebellion, the university said it would make a statement on 16 July explaining its policy on these matters. And there has been no such statement.

‘We’ve been told that the university isn’t able to respond quickly because of the Covid-19 situation and because it’s the holiday season,’ says Solina Diallo of Extinction Rebellion. ‘That is a great pity but we do understand. We’ve been told a statement will be made within six weeks from now.’ The banner is intended as a reminder. ‘We want to show that we won’t forget, even if it does take longer.’

Online activism
The banner wasn’t up for long, however. Although the construction of Aurora is still in full swing, there are very few people on the rest of the campus. ‘Hardly anyone would see the banner, so we hung it up early in the morning, took a photo and took it down again,’ says Solina. ‘This is mainly online activism. We’ve spread the photos on social media and they’re being shared a lot.’

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