Science - March 3, 2005

Wageningen students in jail

Twenty students from Wageningen took part in the student occupation of the Maagdenhuis, the administrative centre of the University of Amsterdam on Monday night. Wednesday morning, 2 March, they were all still in custody after the police had put an end to the occupation that was a protest about problems in Dutch higher education.

The students are still being held because they refuse to give their names and have no identity papers with them. ‘They do not want to be accused individually for what was a collective action,’ explained Francien Peterse, Soil science student and spokesperson for the students. The students will probably be fined 75 euros, fifty of which is for not having ID on them.

The students were protesting at the proposal of the secretary of state for education, Mark Rutte, to introduce high tuition fees for students who do not finish their degree on time. In a debate in the Lower House on Tuesday Rutte said that there was nothing to negotiate about. The students are indignant: ‘We would rather talk than occupy, but if the opinions of those with experience are not taken into account, we have little alternative.’ The demonstrators want Rutte to scrap his plans to introduce higher tuition fees and reduce the time allowed for a degree. A further demonstration is planned on 21 March in The Hague. / YdH

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