Breaking the Silence in Academia: Understanding the Corporatisation of Universities in the Netherlands and beyond

Breaking the Silence in Academia: Understanding the Corporatisation of Universities in the Netherlands and beyond

The goal of the event is to bring together a range of people, including students, professors and lecturers, researchers, adjunct instructors, non-academic university employees, and community activists to discuss the corporatisation and neoliberalisation of higher education in the Netherlands and what can be done to resist this trend. We believe that there is widespread concern about the impacts of this model on the quality of education, research, and working conditions at universities. In recent years we have witnessed growing resistance to this trend around the world, including here in the Netherlands.

For this event, we expect to have participants from a range of universities (including the University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Wageningen University), employment positions (including professors, lecturers, doctoral candidates, students, and support staff), and national backgrounds.


Provisional Program

1. 13:00: The corporate university: a worldwide perspective (Panel discussion)

– What do we mean by Corporate University? When and why was this model created?

– What have been the effects of this process elsewhere (e.g., US).

– How is this model imposed in universities? Is this what is happening in the Netherlands?


2. 14:45 Labour, management and governance in the corporate university (Panel discussion)

– Top down vs collaborative governance. Sexism and silence in Academia.

– The change in working conditions: Measurement, evaluation, precarity in careers, workload.

– The consequences of this on the nature and quality of research and education.


3. 16:30 What can we do? Organising for resistance in universities (Panel discussion)

– Where have there been successes in resisting the corporatization of higher education?

– What can we learn from struggles of the cleaners and other university workers?

– What means exist or need to be created for organising and resisting in the Dutch context?

– What is the upcoming agenda? Plans for the alternative opening of the academic year.


18:00 – Dinner, drinks, informal discussion


Reading materials

“Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education” by William Deresiewicz (The Nation)

– “How Finance Penetrates its Other: A Cautionary Tale on the Financialization of a Dutch University” by Ewald Engelen, Rodrigo Fernandez and Reijer Hendrikse

“In the Name of Love” by Miya Tokumitsu (Jacobin Magazine)

Organised by Borderless and ReInform

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