VeSte, Pulse and Rood, the youth wing of the Dutch Socialist Party, demonstrated today in the Forum against the plans of State Secretary Halbe Zijlstra.
Like their colleagues in other student cities, Wageningen's champions of student interests are taking part in the campaign week run by the National Union of Students (LSVB). The entrance hall of the Forum is decked out with banners and Pulse, VeSte and Rood are collecting protest signatures destined for The Hague.
Ball and chain
Executive members of the three student clubs are walking around, each wearing an ankle ball and chain, a cardboard ball that is. The balls carry slogans like 'studieschuld' [student loan debt], 'harde knip' [BSc before MSc rule] and 'inkorten OV' [cuts to public transport rights]. 'For students, Zijlstra's measures are a ball and chain,' tells Pulse chairperson Romy Appelman. 'We want to demonstrate that burden as graphically as possible.'
Nationally, two demonstrations have been organized. In Nijmegen on Tuesday and on Friday it is the turn of Amsterdam. The latter will probably attract the biggest crowd, thinks Appelman. 'That's the cheapest one for students, because whether they've got a week or a weekend public transport pass, they can travel for free on Fridays.' The demonstration in Dam Square has been given the name Day of Mourning. 'Dressed in black, students will be remembering their study dreams.'
On Wednesday a delegation of the Student Council parties VeSte and Pulse will cycle from Amsterdam to the Binnenhof in The Hague to express their concerns about the reduction of student travel rights. In The Hague the students will present the collected protest signatures to the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament.