Yesterday you and me found ourselves unable to access our classrooms and teach, which is what we love doing and are (under)paid for. The corridors were blocked by the usual assembly students announcing that the Facultat had been occupied and that it was in everyone’s interest not to do any teaching or learning… to guarantee the survival of the public university. Deep sigh. This caught me totally by surprise, I assume you knew nothing, either.
As you are quite a rhetorician, I found you –after getting away from quite an ugly situation in the corridor leading to my inaccessible classroom– trying to convince a girl student to let you pass. I joined you and this is when the girl told us that, ‘The problem is that you teachers do not support the public university’. Ouch. I protested that my salary has been cut for the benefit of the public university. When, exasperated, I asked her how her preventing us from teaching protected the public university at all, she answered that without the current occupation of the Facultat there would be no teaching at all next year. Deep sigh, deep sigh, deep sigh…
There’s much, much, much to protest against in the current situation as I’m sure you’re well aware of since you’ve been following what you call my ‘journal of the crisis’. What tires me, and you as I saw, is the lack of imagination of these particular protesters who think that occupying the Facultat and annoying teachers and students who disagree has any effect whatsoever on the ‘Rectora’ and the Generalitat. What kills me in particular is how old-fashioned this method of protest is, so nostalgic of the good old hippy days of 1968.
So, here are some alternatives, dear occupying students:
*write a blog, or open a website, to keep your fellow students informed day-by-day of how their rights are being destroyed – a serious one, not a pamphlet
*organise a gigantic flashmob in downtown Barcelona, as they did a few days ago in Plaça Catalunya for the defence of independence
*perform a play about the public university in the middle of Plaça Catalunya, in the style of the Medieval morality plays, or as 1990s in-yer-face theatre (we both can help with that)
*film a witty, clever lipdub music video with your own protest lyrics to upload on YouTube
*flood the Generalitat’s Counsellor (maybe the Secretary for Universities and Research) with a zillion email protest messages
*write an essay about the ills of the public university and go en masse to register it as intellectual property
*organise marathon lectures – I propose one to break the record establish by Pepe Rubianes in the longest interview ever: 24 hours. My colleague Laura Gimeno can indeed lecture about civil disobedience, as she was asked to do by the same students who wouldn’t let her teach, I volunteer to lecture on neo-liberalism as a sophisticated form of upper-class villainy.
*take each of you a book and organise a sit-down that covers all of UAB – this is to show the authorities how much you love learning
I could go on. Take your pick.
In the meantime, you and I, ‘like a patient etherised upon a table’, await for news of our fate, with, as usual, our resources as educators dilapidated by those who think they are protecting everyone’s right to learn.