On Monday, April 20th 2009, the independent student initiative for the right to free education started a peaceful occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia. The occupation lasted for 35 five days, until May 24th, when the students voted to suspend the occupation.The students who organized the occupation demand the right to free education for all and the elimination of all tuition fees, at all levels of higher education: undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate. During the occupation, everyone was free to enter and leave the Faculty building, but regular classes were not held. Instead, students organized an alternative educational program, which consisted of lectures, public discussions, workshops, movie screenings and other happenings. Everyone was free to attend these happenings, whether they were students or not.
Every evening, students held an open assembly (plenum or plenary session) in which all students and citizens were allowed to participate. (After the occupation ended, the plenary sessions were held once a week, except for six weeks during Summer break). At the plenary sessions they discussed the situation and decided whether they would continue with the occupation the next day. Everyone was free to attend the plenum, to participate in discussions and to vote, whether they were students or ordinary citizens. The issue of the right to free education is not one that concerns only the students, it is an issue of relevance for the future of the entire society, therefore every member of the society has the right to participate in decision making at the plenary sessions.
So far, we have received numerous letters of support from individuals and organizations, both at home and from abroad. Among those who have expressed support for our cause are Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler and Slavoj Žižek. Full list of who supports us can be accessed here.
UPDATE: The students at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb have started another peaceful occupation of their faculty on November 23rd.