ESU commends the work of students taking an active role in society. We demand that governments within the European community establish a scheme in which students, who have been expelled from higher education institutions on the basis of their political commitment, can complete their education in Europe. These students must also be provided with the required financial and practical support.
Education is fundamental for a functioning society. Student activists are often important agents of change for democracy and human rights. This also makes the students a particularly vulnerable group in many countries. Authoritarian governments go methodically to work to tame students. They use threats, arrests and expulsions as effective means to stop the critical voices of students from being heard. When education and learning is what defines a student, expulsion is a serious impediment to personal development and their commitment to bettering society.
However, expulsion does not only affect the students themselves. It often has consequences for families and communities that have invested so much in the students’ education. Expulsions are often a strong deterrent for other students who would like to show their commitment in creating a better society. By exemplifying one or a small number of students, an authoritarian apparatus can thus prevent the development of a large and otherwise potentially threatening mass. Since intimidation is often the most effective means for an apparatus of power to suppress the student population there is also a better opportunity than elsewhere to counter such suppression.
To encourage continued involvement in the student body, students who are used as examples by these authoritative regimes must be helped. Rather than being intimidated from getting involved, these students must be given the opportunity to finish their education and form a respectable life for their own benefit and the benefit of their community.