“M But who does she take us for? Kindergarten children have the right to go to school, but we, who are adults, would not be able to respect barrier gestures… ” The exasperation of Soumia, a student and union member at the UNEF, was shared by the fifty people gathered this Thursday in front of the Sorbonne University, to protest against the contempt of the administration. The little phrase in the world, on January 12, by the Minister of Higher Education to justify the refusal to reopen the universities, on “The student who takes a coffee during the break, a candy lying on the table”, definitely does not pass. It illustrates the refusal of dialogue, which culminated with police violence on January 4, as the only response to protests against the holding of face-to-face exams, after months of distance learning. “The only answer for having posted myself in front of the door of my university was beatings and 55 hours in police custody”, Ralf reminded in the megaphone.
“What revolts us the most is the silence of the administration, while for weeks we tried to ask for a change in the organization of the partial, to take into account the situation of confined students”, protests Fanny, student in geography. Géraldine Paumier, who sits as CGT representative of the administrative staff on the training and university life council, confirms that at the request of the student unions to organize the organization of exams “The president refused them very aggressively”. Nothing has indeed been done to take into account the situation of young people who have left the capital, so as not to pay exorbitant rents, and for whom returning there for several days can be complex. “We have also mentioned the health risks of face-to-face for those with health problems or families at risk, but nothing has been planned”, adds a member of the union Move your university. Even within UFRs (training and research units), the question of how to organize partials has been locked, relates a lecturer in medieval history.
The students’ psychological and material suffering is nevertheless palpable
The students also denounce threats and pressures. To the students who spoke at the start of the exams to signal their doubts, a modern history professor would have replied: “The preparatory classes and the grandes écoles are in the process of composing; you, you are lazy. “ The demonstrators also evoke threats of disciplinary advice, or even cutbacks of scholarships, against those who dared to ask questions. “If the students went to compose, it is for fear of the administration, not because they did not agree with us”, launches Valentin, master of history, to the applause of the crowd.
But, faced with the suffering of the students, the university administration is also turning a deaf ear. Adbe says he tried to report cases of students on the verge of suicide, but beyond listening kindly to the student risk manager, “Management is in denial”. The psychological and material suffering of the students, confined for months, is nevertheless palpable. “I saw my dreams crumble, my future darken. At 18, we say to ourselves that nothing makes sense anymore ”, testified a young girl in a letter read to the demonstrators. The students, however, are not asking for the moon. They just want to go back to college and be able to study in decent conditions to secure their future.