Student organisations on curfew: last vestige of freedom ripped away?

Student union LSVb is dead-set against the introduction of a curfew. But student organization ISO is hesitant: who are we to contradict the experts?

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archive photo Bart van Overbeeke

There is a good chance that the government will impose a curfew in the coming days in a last-ditch effort to contain the second wave of the pandemic. It’s likely that practically everyone will have to remain indoors after 20.30.

Disproportionate

In a press release, the LSVb labels a curfew “disproportionate”. Student union chairperson Lyle Muns says: “Young people are at the end of their rope. More and more students are coming to us with symptoms ranging from listlessness to feelings of pessimism and despair. They feel that a curfew will rip away the last bit of freedom they have.”

The union also says that a curfew will be ineffective. Muns: “It’s almost impossible to enforce the current measures as things stand. If the police are now also expected to enforce a nightly curfew, they won’t have the capacity to deal with truly pressing issues.” Muns feels that the best way to keep the British variant of the virus at bay is by restricting air traffic.

No firm conclusions

The Dutch National Student’s Association (ISO) understands the concerns of the LSVb, especially regarding the well-being of students. However, the ISO does not want to draw firm conclusions about the curfew. “If epidemiologists and other experts decide that a curfew is necessary to fight the virus, who are we to contradict them?” says ISO chairperson Dahran Çoban. “I'm not going to pretend to know better than the Outbreak Management Team.”

The ISO, like the LSVb, does want face-to-face education to continue as much as possible. Rapid Covid testing and hiring external venues for lectures and exams can help ensure this, as far as the ISO is concerned. “Even if a curfew is imposed, students should still be able to go to class.”

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