Student representatives have been harassed by staff and students after the faculty’s decision to move the Philosophy students. Daniel Kraft, chairman of the Student Council, has been situated right in the line of fire, and has now decided to take a break from Philosophy because of the tone in the debate.
After the faculty management’s decision to move the philosophers from Kungshuset to the new centre for the Humanities, Lux, student representatives at the Department of Philosophy have been blamed and harassed by students and staff.
Because of the Council’s positive attitude to the move, the intellect of the active representatives has been questioned by employees, and openly criticised in lectures, the Student Union for the Humanities and Theology writes in a letter to the faculty management.
The letter also describes how a doctoral student employed at the department “Liked” a derogatory comment aimed at the Student Council on Facebook. This after the Student Council at the Department of Philosophy sent out a memo supporting a move to Lux.
One of the people that the statements have been aimed at is Daniel Kraft, chairman of the Student Council at the Department of Philosophy. Daniel Kraft hasn’t personally been in a classroom when a teacher has expressed themselves negatively, but he is aware that many at the department have been upset and partly blamed the union and the Student Council. He has also heard statements from students.
“I’ve heard people on the same course as me, not knowing who I am, calling me an idiot”, says Daniel Kraft.
Daniel Kraft has taken a break from Philosophy, and is now studying Comparative Literature while waiting for the tone of the debate to change. But the events have not affected his will to commit himself.
“I noticed that not everyone knew about the various reasons for the move. It felt important to open up the debate so that people don’t talk past one another. Many seem to believe that the memo is the reason for the move, but that isn’t true”, he says.
Daniel Kraft thinks that he has had support from both the head of department and the director of studies at the department. They have realised that the Student Council have been put on the spot, and Daniel Kraft thinks that they have done what they can in order to solve the situation. After the union observed the situation, Lynn Åkesson at the faculty management sent out a memo to all heads of department in order to stress the importance of student representatives being treated correctly. It “is a prerequisite of a functioning democratic order at Lund University.”
“Philosophy is the subject I love, and I will come back and take more courses”, he says.
Björn Petersson is head of department at the Department of Philosophy. He says that the department is in agreement with the union that this type of treatment of student representatives cannot occur.
“We have talked with the individual employees who have been pointed out. I think that it’s been taken very seriously that the case has been brought up by the faculty board”, says Björn Petersson.
He also says that the discussion about how employees should express themselves in social media, including other places , should be taken further. The head of department also makes it clear that the department does not regard the Student Council as responsible in the decision about the move from Kungshuset, even if the situation in some media might have been interpreted that way.
Text: Lovisa Waldeck
Translation: Matilda Lundborg