Press Release: Protest Removing Bicycles Racks from O&O Square October 31.10.2023
Today, University Rebellion protested the removal of bicycle racks from the O&O square which was done against most student’s will. Before the protest, University Rebellion collected the opinions of students and staff about the removal of the bicycle racks via an online form which they advertised online via their Instagram account and social media groups, as well as offline through posters. They received 439 responses to their survey. The results indicate that 88.8% of respondents do not like that the bicycle racks have been removed and paltry 3.4% of respondents think that they had a say in the decision-making process. Respondents left comments like “annoying”, “very bad”, “unnecessary”, “a terrible idea”. Some left longer comments indicating their dissatisfaction with the poor planning of the new parking situation, the way the decision was communicated, and the failure to take their opinions and needs into account properly. Thus, the results of the survey reveal that most people on campus are dissatisfied with the decisions of the UT management. But it also points to a broader pattern of how decisions are being taken at UT.
Only a very small percentage of people at UT have a say in decisions that affect a broad range of people. Important decisions are being taken behind closed doors and there is no transparency about which needs and interests affected decisions and how they have been weighted. The same is true for wider issues about sustainability at UT, like ties to the fossil-fuel industry. After the sustainability dialogues in which the Executive Board pretended to care about the input from students and staff about sustainability at UT, they have taken the decision-making process away from the community and behind closed doors of the Strategic Board. Thus, the wider community has no say in the actual decision-making process. Even worse, the executive board refuses to establish transparency about how and why decisions are being made. On request of University Rebellion, the Executive Board claimed to “strive for transparency in the broadest sense of the word. However, minutes of the Strategic Board (SB) meetings are never shared publicly.” This is an obvious contradiction. Not sharing the notes of meetings in which important decisions are taken makes it impossible to discern if needs and interests of different parties have been taken into consideration and how they have been weighted against each other. The latest example about how this command-and-control style of taking decisions lead to the brutal disregard of needs and interests of the UT community is the Executive Board’s recent decision to not prolong any temporary contracts, which will cost many current UT employees their jobs. It is clear that the lackadaisical decision-making process at UT it not transparent, not democratic, and leads to outcomes rejected by large parts of the UT community, at times directly harming them. Therefore, University Rebellion demands to democratize the UT by establishing federated student and staff assemblies open to everyone which take the important decisions affecting the UT community.