Breakthrough in latest Univ. Amsterdam occupation protest

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The University of Amsterdam (UvA) will allow one student representative to join the university's Executive board and will delay a programme to make drastic cuts to the humanities faculty, the Executive Board announced on Thursday. Protestors took over the Maagdenhuis building after a march through the city center on Wednesday evening. Several hundred remained in the building early Thursday evening. Conflict is still simmering between the Executive Board and occupying organization De Nieuwe Universiteit. Supporting the occupiers are the Humanities Rally and student representative organisations. Louise Gunning, the chairperson of the UvA's Executive Board told the protesting occupiers of the university's administrative building that the Board would bring on a student representative on the Board. The news was confirmed by Dean Frank van Vree. But her audience was not receptive, and when probed for further details, Gunning was unable to deliver. "It doesn't really mean anything," a spokesperson for De Nieuwe Universiteit told NL Times. "There are no details released, so we don't know who the student will be, how they will be chosen or if they will have any influence." About an hour later, the organization received news of a second concession from the Board. Profiel 2016, the plan for university funding reallocation away from several humanities courses and a driving force behind the opposing movement has been postponed until 2018.

"They will source external funding for the new courses they are implementing, and postpone the cutting of small languages for two years," said Gunnar de Haan, head of the Student Council of the Humanities (FSr) to NL Times. "The idea is to give us two years to develop changes with the government," he continued. The concessions are nice gestures, but not much more than that said de Haan. "This is only a start; they have finally showed a willingness to concede," he said. "We now expect to have many more negotiations." He attributed the progress to the occupying movement, explaining that they created the pressure needed to prompt negotiations.

The Student Council of Humanities (FSr) and the Humanities Rally confirmed the concessions in a press conference at the Maagdenhuis at 3:00 p.m. Representatives of dissatisfied students led by the National Student Union (LSVB) also met with Education Minister Jet Bussemaker on Thursday afternoon in The Hague, but the conversation was focused at raising government attention, rather than yielding direct results. "She contacted us, it's a positive step," LSVB chairperson Tom Hoven told NL Times. "She makes the law so it makes sense that there is a conversation."

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