The president of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, today received representatives of the senates of Catalan public universities, who presented him with a joint manifesto condemning the sentences given to Catalan political prisoners and the judicialisation of politics. The head of the government described the initiative of the university senates as “exceptional” and said they were honouring the “basic principles and founding values of universities: freedom, democracy, justice, equality and solidarity”. Torra said that despite state repression, “they won’t be able to stop our single-minded pursuit of democracy. With dignity and determination, we will continue to call for dialogue and negotiation and for the democratic will of our citizens to be respected.”
The joint manifesto condemning the sentences and the judicialisation of politics was approved last week by the senates of Catalonia’s seven public universities: the University of Barcelona (UB), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB); the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), the University of Lleida (UdL), Rovira i Virgili University (URV) and the University of Girona (UdG), and the University of Vic–Central University of Catalonia (UdVic).
The text was endorsed by the highest representative bodies of these universities, their respective senates, by a large majority of members in all cases (an average of 84%). The President said: “This shows that there is a consensus in Catalan society when it comes to roundly condemning the sentences given to the prisoners and the judicialisation of politics.”
“Our society needs to invoke the founding values of universities,” he said during his speech before representatives of the senates. Torra encouraged all members of the university community, including students, to “fight peacefully for a world that’s more just and freer”. He said that “mobilised and committed young people are a very valuable asset” and expressed support for actions in which they “exercise their freedoms”.
According to the president, Catalan society is at a “very serious and critical juncture” as a result of having “fulfilled a democratic mandate, voted and engaged in peaceful protest; that is, for having exercised what are legitimate rights and freedoms in any democratic society”. The president also reiterated his and his government’s “commitment to defending freedoms and individual and collective rights, including the right to self-determination”.