Under the name of Protest Action Group (PAG), Jelle van den Wijngaard and Niels de Groot went all in at the end of March. They drew up three key points, which the Executive Board had to tackle as soon as possible. More transparency and democracy, limiting growth and tackling study pressure.
Six weeks later, the duo changed the 'working title' PAG to a new one: UNMUTE. 'It is topical and, in times full of online meetings, recognisable. It symbolises students who are on mute, while we want students to speak out', De Groot noted at the time. The ambition to establish a local student union was also high on the agenda from then on.
In order to get an exact picture of how big the group is that supports UNMUTE, a petition has been running since Monday. 'At the same time, we have launched our new website, where the petition can be found. We will also be distributing posters and flyers on the campus. If we know how many students are behind us, we will create a mandate if we get a lot of signatures. We will then be able to speak on behalf of the Enschede student,' explains De Groot.
Van den Wijngaard hopes that the petition will also result in more students wanting to play an active role within UNMUTE. Seven students work for the group, but according to him that number should increase. 'If you want to tackle things seriously, whether it's about policy, housing or the municipality, you need manpower. You can't do that with a small group of active members.'
UNMUTE deliberately opened the petition before the holidays, so that the focus would shift to setting up the student union during the holidays. 'And this union is necessary if we want to be able to act from a good structure in the long term,' says De Groot. Van den Wijngaard: "The LSVb supports us in every way possible and is very helpful in setting up the union.
By means of the petition, UNMUTE hopes to get closer to its first goal: acknowledgement of problems by the CvB. 'After that, hopefully promises will follow and problems will be addressed, but first we want confirmation. With as many signatures as possible under our three core values, we can have a more concrete conversation and coffee with the Executive Board.'
UNMUTE's petition can be found here.