University of Amsterdam

We, the undersigned students, faculty and alumni of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in The Netherlands, write this letter to express our solidarity and support to the students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, and in support of progressive writers, journalists and activists across India who have been unfairly targeted by the rightwing fundamentalist ideologues of the BJP, their student wing – the ABVP – and associated mob elements.

In early 2015, the students and teachers of UvA took to the streets against the neoliberalization of university education. Our peaceful dissent was periodically met with stiff resistance from various quarters, including the university administration and police, but we persisted. The right to dissent and protest is the fundamental democratic right from which all others follow. In this, we have the support of hundreds of students and teachers across the world, including numerous Asian students.

We condemn in no uncertain terms, the arrest and wrongful detention of the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) President Kanhaiya Kumar under baseless and anachronistic charges of ‘sedition’. The language of sedition and hyper-nationalism has no place in institutions of higher education, where independent thought should be stimulated instead of being persecuted. We strongly support the rights of students in universities across India to express their opinions and their right to dissent.

We also wish to record our opposition to the mounting talk around budget cuts to central universities in India. Under a neoliberal spell, universities in Europe are struggling to retain a sense of societal purpose in higher education and sustain the idea of a university as a space for meaningful knowledge generation. We stand by the efforts of generations of students across the world who struggle for the right to intellectual work beyond the confines of a neoliberal imagination.

Signed by

1. Aarthi Sridhar, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam
2. Joeri Scholtens, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam
3. Dr. Johny Stephen, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam (Alumni)
4. Dr. Dennis Arnold, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam
5. Dr. Jan Teurlings, Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam
6. T. Saharan, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam
7. Annisa Triyanti, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam
8. Dr. Sruti Bala, Assistant Professor, Theatre Studies, University of Amsterdam
9. Dr. Eef Masson, Media Studies Department, University of Amsterdam
10. Dr. Robin Celikates, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Amsterdam
11. Dr. Moritz Föllmer, Department of History, University of Amsterdam
12. Dr. Enzo Rossi, Dept of Political Science, University of Amsterdam
13. Dr. Rudi Künzel, Associate Researcher, Department of History, University of Amsterdam
14. Cyril Owen Brandt, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam
15. Champaka Rajagopal, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam
16. Dr. Marieke Brand, Diversity Officer Social Sciences, University of Amsterdam
17. Carolina Frossard, University of Amsterdam
18. Francesco Colona, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam
19. Margherita Giordano, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam
20. Hernán Labbé Grunberg, Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC), University of Amsterdam
21. Teun Dominicus, University of Amsterdam
22. Dr Mieke Lopes Cardozo, Assistant Professor, University of Amsterdam
23. Dr. Aditee Biswas, University of Amsterdam (Alumni MAIPR Program 2010-2012)
24. Swati Arora, Theatre Studies, University of Amsterdam (Alumni)
25. Mikki Stelder – PhD Candidate, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis
26. Dr. Sudha Rajagopalan, Assistant Professor, European Studies, University of Amsterdam
27. Lonneke van Heugten, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis/ Theatre Studies, University of Amsterdam
28. Dr.Jeroen de Kloet, Professor, Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies, University of Amsterdam
29. Ivy Maike Van den Berge, University of Amsterdam
30. Dr. Gargi Bharadwaj, Theatre Studies, University of Amsterdam, MAIPR 2008-10 Batch (Alumni)
31. Devendranath Sankaranarayanan, Department of Theatre Studies, University of Amsterdam (Alumni)
32. Nachiket Joshi, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam
33. Hannah Klaubert, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam
34. Helene Maes, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam
35. Iona Sharp Casas, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam
36. Ian Kenny, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam
37. Dr. Else Vogel, Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam

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