Amsterdam: Response to UvA board threats to legal action

As many of you have probably noticed, the media have reported that we’ve received a letter from the UvA in which they threaten to take judicial action against our use of the Spinhuis. Firstly, we want to take away any fears by declaring that we will stay open for at least the next few weeks. If the board of directors of the UvA do indeed decide to follow up on their threat it will take a while before we will be evicted from the Spinhuis. In the meantime we we will continue offering a full programme (to be found below), especially because more and more people and groups come to us to organize events.

We get many questions about the current status of the Spinhuis and the conversations we’ve had with the board of directors of the UvA. Please take note that we’ve heard, from multiple sources, that the UvA were in negotiations with Ad Hoc real estate management with the intention to put anti­-squat into the building. Rector magnificus Dymph van den Boom, amongst others, have fervently denied this in conversations with us. From the start we’ve been asking the UvA to provide us with their plans pertaining to the future of this building. ‘We will only give you these plans if you concede to immediately leave,’ was the reply of rector magnificus Dymph van den Boom, ‘otherwise I don’t see why we should let you see our plans.’

On the twelfth of September we received a single A4 sheet which is filled with intentions but no actual plans (and no plans at all which are relevant to the squatted Common Room). After receiving these plans we once again requested the university, this time through the Dutch Public Information Act, to send us the actual plans. The UvA have requested a the maximum extension, four weeks, for supplying this information. The evasiveness of the board of directors of the UvA seems to indicate there are no plans for the Common Room. The UvA have, through various media, stated they want us to leave the building because they want to look for asbestos in the building. However, we’ve recently been in talks with an employee from the housing department who has stated that our presence in the Common Room is not problematic for any potential removal of asbestos. When they want to make sure there is no asbestos in the Common Room all that needs to be done is to drill a few holes in the ceiling, an investigation which would take less than a day. Of course, we would happily aid in this investigation. Moreover, the UvA are still to request municipal permits for asbestos removal. In conclusion, we don’t see any reason to end our stay in the Spinhuis.

What has become clear to us is that the board of directors of the UvA would prefer anti­squat over an independent initiative of and for its own students. We believe the Common Room, as an informal meeting place with room for cultural and educational activities, is a valuable addition to the academic community and the university. So far, there has not been a single reasonable argument against our staying.