Friday, March 13, 2009

From: Concerned Undergraduate Students at the University of the Ryukyus

Dear the Students in Exile

We, the Students of the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan, sincerely express our solidarity with the Students in Exile.
We also began to occupy and sit-in on our campus from March 9. 2009.
The Globe is just one, and we hope that the students could develop a global society of solidarity against the neoliberalism.
Please read our Statement, Support Letter and our Blog (http://loudaisei.seesaa.net/ Unfortunately most of it are written in Japanese) ,if you have much time.

Sincerely
>From the Students of the University of the Ryukyus


(the Statement and Support Letter are as follows:)

The Statement of Occupation

The authorities at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan, have decided to lay off its adjunct language faculty members and massively reduce the number of foreign language courses without fully disclosing why such policies were necessary. Alarmed by the situation, we, the students, have demanded direct negotiations with the university officials twice in the past. But the university dismissed our first demand through writing, and decided to ignore our second request. The university officials thus deliberately failed to create a democratic forum where the students and they could openly discuss the issues and seek possible solutions.

We, the students of the university, will start occupying our campus. As the students who have studied justice, freedom, human rights, and resistance and have been trying to apply them to real life conditions, we question and resist the anti-democratic actions taken by the
university authorities.

The aim of this sit-in is to create a situation in which the university authorities must genuinely acknowledge the flawed and problematic nature of its so-called "new language curriculum." If the university still exists for us, the students (as stipulated in its Mission Statement), then the current situation in which it refuses to consider our concerns not only needs to be rigorously critiqued but must be radically changed.

This situation is not the sole concern of the students and adjunct faculty members at the University of the Ryukyus. While the occupation of campus began as a critical response to the neoliberalization of our university and the attendant impoverishment of our educational program, it also aims to shed light upon other related issues such as the breakdown of our "autonomous" university system, crisis of educational system within the Okinawa Prefecture at large, and the issue of unemployment among the residents of Okinawa.

Based upon these conditions and reasons, we demand the officials at the University of the Ryukyus to:

1) Repeal the so-called "new language curriculum."
2) Hold a public meeting about the "new curriculum" that is open to all members of the society.
3) Dismiss president TERUO IWAMASA, and vice presidents KEISUKE TAIRA and RISHUN SHINZATO.
4) Allow the student representatives to participate, speak, and vote at the Board of Trustees' meetings.
5) Establish the democratic election system to appoint president and all board members.
6) Ensure all the rights of the students involved in the occupation and not impose any punitive measure on them.

This occupation is a protest against the university authorities' irresponsible decision to neoliberalize our university that has rather foolishly foregone its commitment to public education and caused the impoverishment of curriculum. This occupation is also a protest against the university officials who, with their authoritarian mindset, never even thought about offering adequate explanations to the students or inviting them into the decision-making process. We, the students, strongly condemn the university's dismissal of the students' voices and will work to reclaim the student autonomy on our own campus.

Finally, we declare our solidarity with all the others who have been actively working and sincerely hoping to abolish the new curriculum. We act with a hope that the University of the Ryukyus, along with all other universities, will reclaim its status as a "university" in the true sense of the word.

March 9th 2009


Please Support the Student Sit-in at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa
March 9, 2009

The authorities at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan, have decided to lay off its adjunct language faculty members and massively reduce the number of foreign language courses without fully disclosing why such policies were necessary. Alarmed by the situation, we, the students, have demanded direct negotiations with the university officials twice in the past. But the university dismissed our first demand through writing, and did not even respond to our second request. The university officials thus repeatedly failed to create a democratic forum where they and the students could openly discuss the issues and seek possible solutions.

As the students who have studied justice, freedom, human rights, and resistance and have been actively applying them to real life conditions, we decided to occupy our campus and voice our resistance against these undemocratically chosen, unforgivable policies. Sit-in has been an important method of self-determination that has been inventively practiced and carefully passed down by the generations of people here in Okinawa in their post-WWII struggles. Sit-in has taken
roots in Okinawa because it has allowed the people to directly create a space in which they could openly speak about what a better future meant for each of them when they were living amidst the presence of massive military forces. We thus urge the university to abolish the so-called "new language curriculum" by learning from and drawing upon the method of the resistance historically developed here in Okinawa: sit-in.

The current sit-in aims to create a situation in which the university authorities must genuinely acknowledge the flawed and problematic nature of its so-called "new language curriculum." If the university still exists for us, (as stipulated in its Mission Statement), then we, the students, need to not only critique but change the current critical situation in which our own university does not even acknowledge the concerns and demands of its students.

This situation is not the sole concern of the students and adjunct
faculty members at the University of the Ryukyus. While the
occupation of campus began as a critical response to the
neoliberalization of our university and the attendant impoverishment of our educational program, our sit-in also aims to problematize other related issues such as the breakdown of our "autonomous" university system, crisis of educational system within the Okinawa Prefecture at large, and unemployment among the residents of Okinawa.

"The new curriculum" has no legitimate basis to justify itself and
benefits no one on campus and in the society, as has been made evident by now at various meetings and through media reports. But it takes much courage for us, the students, to express our demand to abolish "the new curriculum" on the campus of the University of the Ryukyus where all types of harassment take place on a regular basis. To add to this, most tenured faculty members remain silent until today. This is why we sincerely ask for your help because it is difficult to create "the common"or the communal space in our situation now.

Please join our fight to abolish "the new language curriculum." We welcome your participation through various means available:
participation in our sit-in, donation, media coverage, and so on.
Your support and participation is much appreciated.

Concerned Undergraduate Students at the University of the Ryukyus

We stand with you in solidarity today and everyday until our struggle is Won Students of Ryukyus!

2 comments:

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  2. Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.
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    ReplyDelete