[this letter to the ReThink UvA/FdR mailing list is reproduced here with permission of the author]

Dear all,

As many of you know, over the past few weeks (ie since day 1, talking to the students in the MH) I have been trying to convince everyone that the current CvB is not the problem and that we should focus our actions on structural reform. Indeed, one of the reasons why I thought Rethink UvA/FdR was more constructive than Rethink UvA was exactly that we were not calling for the resignation of the CvB but instead proposed a blueprint for democratic reform. However, after the events of last Saturday, and especially after the wholly inadequate justification offered by the CvB in its email yesterday, I now have come to believe that this position is no longer tenable.

Since it published its 10 points programme last month, the CvB has claimed that it is now taking democratisation seriously. But suppose we already had a democratically elected University Council today. Then, the CvB could have called an emergency meeting of the UC last week asking for a mandate to start court proceedings wit a view to evicting the students form the MH during the weekend. Is it even remotely conceivable that such a democratically elected University Council would have granted that mandate on the basis of the reasons that the CvB made public in its email yesterday? To my mind the answer is almost certainly: no. None of the reasons offered by the CvB made it plausible that eviction by the police during the weekend was necessary or a good idea. Safety in the MH during the weekend could have been assured in much more peaceful (and cost-efffective) ways. And the University Council would probably have told the CvB that it should wait until Monday 12.00 to see whether the DNU was such an unreliable partner as the CvB claimed it was.

What the UvA needs today a is a CvB that is able to guide our university through the institutional reforms that are so desperately needed (chiefly democratisation and decentralisation). In order to be able to do so convincingly the CvB should, in its actions and in the reasons it offers for them, express a commitment (or at least sensitivity) to basic democratic principles. In my view, after this serious error in judgment and relapse into old style governance the CvB’s declared commitment to democratic reform is no longer convincing.

Therefore, I think that the time has come for this CvB to resign. I just sent an email too.j.m.velthuis@uva.nl, asking to be included in the list of signatories of the petition that was published in the NRC yesterday, as many of you already did before.

Best wishes, Martijn