BM 67 – Academic freedom in Denmark

06.01.2015
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ESU looks with concern on the recent developments regarding the academic freedom of Higher Education institutions and students in Denmark. For a minister to dictate the cut of a specific amount of study places in specific academic fields without any dialogue with students or staff at universities is very harmful for the academic freedom in the country. What kind of knowledge should be available for who should not be for a minister to decide. ESU believes in free and equal access to education, and such a measure as is currently being proposed in Denmark is going in the opposite direction of that goal, with great potential costs to academic standards, academic freedom and the social dimension. Furthermore, when drastic measures are proposed to be implemented without any dialogue, it should be a right for students to protest and demand to be heard. It is shameful for the universities that have in these cases chosen to threaten students with expelling them from the university and involve the police in order to silence the students’ protests. Students should have the right to engage themselves critically in the debate regarding their own education and to make peaceful protests without fear of being expelled from their university, facing legal charges or other severe personal consequences. To deny students this right is an attack on both their academic freedom and basic democratic principles of dialogue. ESU condemns both the ministerial detailed regulation of knowledge availability and the undemocratic response to the student protests that arose as a consequence.

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