Critical Thinking and Freedom of Speech was not one of the goals of University of Amsterdam during Draghi visit
Critical Thinking and Freedom of Speech is not one of the goals of SEFA
With the occasion of having Mr. Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, participating in the “Room for Discussion” event, the Student Association for Economics and Business (SEFA) of University of Amsterdam avoided any opportunity to expose tomorrow’s economists to critical and diverse thinking. Mr Draghi gave a rather boring and foreseen speech about his views on the role of the monetary policies of the ECB in preventing the economic down spiral of the euro zone crisis. The intelligent, inspiring, and true to the academic spirit, questions chosen for Mr. Draghi by SEFA where non other than “your signature on the euro bill is simple compared to your predecessors, are you also so direct in your life?”, “who was your favorite student?”, and finally “what is your advice for the students that want to also become the president of ECB one day?”.
When we confronted the organizers and ask them why there were no questions about the crisis, or the effectiveness of the policies of the ECB, or finally the consequences of such policies, we were told that students already knew the answers to these questions and thus there was no point posing them. In addition, according to the views of SEFA and the organizers of the “Room for Discussion” event, when you interview important people, such as Mr. Draghi, you should make small talk and not direct questions!
Not even one of the questions we sent beforehand via twitter – which was the designated way to ask questions – was chosen. We had prepared for this case by printing a brochure criticizing the infamous quota of Mr.Draghi, that “the euro must be saved whatever it takes”. However, we were not allowed to distribute our brochure to the students since it was deemed by the security of the University of Amsterdam as non-academic material! We were bullied out by the security, who claimed that the building is private and “owned” by the head of the security. Eventually, we were only allowed to distribute our brochure far away from the entrance of the University.
The policies of ECB have triggered countless criticism not only for causing hundreds of thousands to be unemployed and poor, but also for their effectiveness in the economical growth. Mr. M.Draghi, once a vice chairman and managing director of Goldman Sachs, now the President of ECB, is still a member of private financial trusts and banking lobbies, such as the G30. (For the history, a complaint to the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) filed in June 2012, the complaint was directed against the President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, for his membership of an organization of high profile bankers from both the private and public sector – the Group of Thirty G30).
We believe that SEFA, and the University of Amsterdam, has a responsibility in the stultification of the students by exposing them only to one-sided views, and by discouraging lively discussions in interesting topics of the economical and political life. SEFA is also responsible for the degradation of the academic spirit of the students, transforming them to mere admirers of the so called powerful and successful men.
Yesterday, it was clear that there was No “Room for discussion”.
The organizers choose to hide the fact that Mr. Draghi of the ECB is responsible for the humanitarian crisis of the European south. We call SEFA and the University of Amsterdam to organize real discussions that give food for thought, that speak the truth rather than covering up reality, and to stimulate the critical thinking of tomorrow’s economists, so as to be able to recognize and serve society’s interests and not just their carriers with “whatever it takes”.
This is the flyer that was distributed to the attendants of the event:
This is the reply we got from Room for Discussion: