Unions’ proposals letter submitted to Executive Board

Unions FNV and AOb are supporting the Cursor editors in their fight for journalistic freedom. Soon after general editor Han Konings was removed from his position by his supervisor, the unions contacted representatives of the university on behalf of the editorial team. During the first meeting between the editors and the Executive Board, which took place last week, Bernard Koekoek of FNV was present as well to provide support and to hand over the official letter of proposals drafted by the editors in cooperation with the unions.

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In the proposals letter, which is now before the Executive Board, the editors repeat the proposals that were also included in the first statement. In consultation with FNV’s legal department, those proposals were made more concrete. For example, the editors ask for a revision of the editorial statute to safeguard Cursor’s journalistic freedom and to no longer have the editorial board appointed by the Executive Board, but through a democratic process in which one member of the editorial board is appointed by the editors themselves. In addition, the editorial team wants a say in the selection of a new general editor as well as a veto over any new appointment.

Last week, an initial meeting took place between the editors and the Executive Board. Bernard Koekoek, director of FNV Onderwijs en Onderzoek, was also present for support and to hand over the letter. The Executive Board has not yet given a formal response to the letter, but a follow-up meeting has already been scheduled.

Journalistic freedom

In its own statement about the letter of proposals, FNV writes that a university should be a place for critical voices like no other and that the journalistic freedom of a university medium should therefore be beyond any doubt. ‘That is clearly not the case in Eindhoven and this poses a threat to academic freedom,’ the message reads. Therefore, FNV is in favor of ‘establishing by law that every higher education institution should have an independent news medium with solid funding. The Inspectorate of Education would be responsible for overseeing this.’

Recently, Lower House members Lisa Westerveld (GroenLinks) and Peter Kwint (SP) also submitted parliamentary questions to the same effect. As far as is known, no response has been given as of yet.

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