At the Faculty of Social Studies in Brno, students strike for the climate

Václav Šálek

Students at the Faculty of Social Studies of Masaryk University began an occupation strike for climate change on Monday morning in the atrium of the building on Joštova Street.

Although the dean, Stanislav Balík, had the atrium closed, someone opened the space during the morning. The students moved there from the basement area, where they had previously set up emergency facilities, including mattresses, pillows, and bedding. Students from other universities also joined the climate strike.

The package had been negotiating with the students recently, wanting to allow them to protest and hold a cultural program in the atrium, but only during the day, not at night. But the students considered sleepovers an essential part of their protest.

In an email to the students, Balík argued for the safety and protection of health and property. In the morning, the students found the atrium locked, but that changed in the morning. It is unclear who opened the space; the striking students were in the basement at the time, conferring about the next course of action.

Students came to the faculty today with banners such as “Don’t grow,”  “Get out of the Energy Charter,” or “Cool to all.” They want to get the government to be more proactive in the face of the challenges of global warming and climate change.

In a general email to the students, Balík understood the strike’s aims but had reservations about the form. “Although I personally also see climate change as a pressing and acute issue, I cannot support such a radical form of protest, and the faculty will not join this initiative. In the context of the ongoing de facto Russian occupation of Ukraine and the history of student strikes in times of unfreedom (particularly 1968 and 1989), I find the current misuse of both terms -“occupation strike” -to be completely unacceptable,” the dean wrote.

The climate strike has also occurred in Prague and Olomouc since Monday, as well as at other schools in Brno. Students from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Technical University of Technology and the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts joined. They prepared seminars, screenings, thematic discussions, and cultural events.