Judge rules Univ. Amsterdam protesters must pack up, leave Bungehuis

Bungehuis student occupation Feb 13, 2015
. Protesters occupied the Bungehuis, seat of the University of Amsterdam's faculty of humanities (Photo obtained by NL Times)

Protesters who have occupied the University of Amsterdam’s Bungehuis building in the city center will have to leave the building or pay a penalty of 1,000 euros per person per day, a court in Amsterdam ruled on Thursday. The hearing took place after the university sued the protesters, hoping to fine the occupants 100,000 euros each, every day they remained in the building.

A judge said the demand was too high, but agreed that the occupation stifled research and interrupted class schedules, while blocking exits creates a danger in case of an emergency, Nu.nl wrote.

"We are not sure what time they will evict," the protesters said on one of their Twitter accounts. They said some 200 people were inside on Thursday evening to show their support. The eviction could take place before 10 p.m. Thursday, broadcaster NOS reported.

The building houses the Faculty of Humanities at the university. It has been under control of the group De Nieuwe Universiteit since Friday. The university hopes to begin using the facility again by Monday.

Protesters say the cutbacks at the faculty are unfair, and they are calling for a more democratized education system. They say the university needs to operate more transparently, and also needs to put an end to hiring lecturers and professors on a temporary basis.

Several university teachers have voiced their support for the protesters, who are mainly made up of students from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Vrije Universiteit (VU).

The university says the cuts to the faculty are necessary because fewer students are enrolled there. They defend the temporary hirings by saying the rate is much lower in the department that at similar institutions worldwide.

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