We would like to draw your attention to an action on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023, from 11:45 am at the KASK. That day Ben Weyts, Flemish Minister of Education, will come to Ghent, and together with colleagues and students from several university colleges and the KASK itself, we want to give him a warm welcome and confront him with his auterity policy. We meet at 11:45 am at the KASKCafé Marisal (entrance via Louis Pasteurlaan 2, 9000 Ghent). From there we march in a short manifestation across the campus to the place where Weyts is expected.
You already heard that after much insistence by the unions, a first social consultation has been planned about the budget reduction plans at UGent: next week we will meet with the management for the first time. The trade unions go to that consultation with clear objectives: to reduce the amount to be found, and to scrap the anti-social measures and job losses that have been announced. It is unclear which direction these negotiations will take, we hope for the best, but we also take into account a scenario in which the board stubbornly sticks to its original point of view. We will know more next week, and we will of course keep you informed.
In the meantime, however, we want to keep the flame burning, hence this action aimed at Ben Weyts and the Flemish government.
Did you know that since 2008, Weyts has been in second place among ministers who have executed the most budget cutbacks on higher education (after Pascal Smet)? The Flemish government has not complied with its own decrees for years and has already withheld 667 million euros on the annual budget for higher education. Weyts alone is responsible for 247 million. With a symbolic action, we will present Ben Weyts with a choice: will he choose to become austerity champion, or will he take a different course in his last year as minister, and will he take the first step to wind back the budget cuts? We ask him on May 23rd!
In recent months there have also been actions against the cuts at KASK, HoGent and Artevelde Hogeschool. Delegations from those institutions will also be present. It is important that we are also present with a group of staff and students from Ghent University, hence this warm invitation. Be sure to bring your own banners, posters or other anti-austerity material!
Perhaps it can also be an opportunity to convince colleagues to come along who feel less comfortable protesting against their own management, but who are willing to participate in a playful action against the cuts made by the Flemish government?
The facebook event for this activity can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/3241144166031349
The action won't last that long. For those who can, we would like to sit down there afterwards with colleagues and students from KASK and the other university colleges in Ghent to exchange experiences and discuss how we can work together to build a large anti-austerity movement able to put enough pressure on the government to demand more funding for higher education!
See you then?