Wetenschap - 6 juli 1995

Amsterdam PhD students campaign through E-mail

Amsterdam PhD students campaign through E-mail

PhD students from the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Amsterdam have found an effective means of protest: occupying the E-mail addresses of their faculty office and the Maagdenhuis.


In this way they protested against faculty plans to abolish the status of research assistant (aio) and fund PhD students by means of scholarships. Campaign spokesman Han van der Maas deemed the protest a success, because the faculty council voted against the proposal the following day.

On June 19 the PhD students sent some thousands of articles and reports by E-mail, in order to demonstrate their productivity. Initially they only succeeded in slowing the system down, but later it ground largely to a halt. The faculty office was removed from the university network.

The University of Amsterdam allows the faculties themselves to decide whether to fund their PhD students through a scholarship. Van der Maas believes the danger that the Psychology faculty will avail itself of the possibility has abated temporarily. However, he fears such a measure might also be implemented by the Dutch government.

The university office is now considering how to prevent this type of campaign in future, and how to deal with the PhD students. This doesn't surprise Van der Maas, given how effective the modern occupation campaign was. This is the most tranquil campaign I have ever participated in. Everyone was sitting quietly with their feet on the table, while we specifically targeted the people we wanted to reach."

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