Joaquim Coll – April 11, 2021
A classroom of the Faculty of Political Sciences of the UAB, this Tuesday. / ACN
When we analyze how it is possible that a society -modern and advanced- such as the Catalan one could have entered the destructive loop of the ‘procés’ without a way out for now, it points to the responsibility of politicians, the role played by the politicians, the media and even the timid attitude of the economic and social elites. But we cannot forget that also the universities and their top officials, the rectors and cloisters, have joined, sometimes with enthusiasm, others under pressure, in spreading a single sovereignist thought, in the name of freedom of expression.
Recently there has been a new blow from justice to the ‘single manifesto’ that Catalan universities signed against the ‘procés’ sentence and in support of the prisoners. The Supreme Court ruling against Pompeu Fabra recalls something as obvious as that freedom of expression is a fundamental right of citizens, but not of public institutions, which have the obligation to be neutral, precisely because they belong to everyone. In addition, the rectors and cloisters have not been elected for their political ideas, so they lack legitimacy to speak on behalf of the community. And as for the famous university autonomy, which is also appealed to to justify the bankruptcy of neutrality, it is limited exclusively to the exercise of its functions, among which political representation is not found.
For the same reason that Quim Torra could not hang a party banner in the Palau de la Generalitat, or the town councils must refrain from wearing stars, the cloisters cannot approve manifestos that violate the ideological freedom of all its members. The aforementioned ‘single manifesto’ was answered by more than a thousand professors thanks to the Universitaris per la Convivència platform, which works to ensure neutrality is respected and so that all positions are heard. For Catalonia to get out of the hole, it is essential above all that the independentists renounce to believe that the institutions are only theirs.