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NEWS June 2011

5. June 2011 – 13:49

Attacks against Freedom of Speech at University Leuven, Belgium

A critical researcher of the Catholic University Leuven, Belgium, Barbara Van Dyck, was dismissed because of her participation in and views on the Field Liberation Movement, which happened Sunday, May 29, in Brussels. The Field Liberation Movement was simply taking non-violent action against the use of GMO crops in Europe.

This is a direct bounce in the freedom of speech, aiming at making critical researchers scared and silence. I signed the petition and invite those who care for the freedom of speech to do the same. The link is below.

The petition against the dismissal of Barbara van Dyck counts already over 4000 signatures, including many academics from all over the World. The plan was that a delegation of professors, researchers, and sympathizers would hand over the petition to Mark Waer, Rector of the KULeuven on June 28th.
On Saturday however the rector advanced the possibility of reintegrating Barbara Van Dyck in a newspaper interview (De Standaard, June 25th). We are happy that the Rector has taken note of the widespread protests and that he is willing to reconsider his decision. To give this opening a chance, the action committee has decided to delay the protest march ‘No berufsverbot for Barbara’ (known in the press as the ‘march of the angry toga’s).
We are confident that she will be quickly reinstated. Let’s not forget that as Barbara┬┤s supervisors have recently stressed, the dismissal disrupts as well the scientific research projects in which she was involved. Until this goal is met we will continue the campaign.
Yet this campaign does not stop here! This case exposes a lingering discontent about the growing link between research and industrial interests, as well as the market logic that invades academia. In this sense it surpasses the individual case of Barbara van Dyck for it is about the future of science, ecological precaution, the privatization of the commons, academic freedom, free speech and about the precarious situation of young researchers.
Spread the word!

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Written by Tino
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