As university teachers and intellectuals,
We are extremely concerned about the way the current pandemic emergency has been handled, and about the consequences it has already had, and could have in the future, for the Italian people, starting with the world of universities and schools.
We are particularly concerned about academic freedom, which is a pillar of the rule of law and an expression of the highest human dignity. Academic freedom means the freedom to teach, study and learn without any kind of interference or conditioning.
The handling of the emergency has led many European governments to introduce a health pass (or so-called “Green Pass”) for many activities (although the situation varies widely from state to state).
Like many of our Italian colleagues, some of us have freely chosen to be vaccinated against Covid-19. All of us, however, consider the social discrimination introduced with the Green Pass, which restricts many fundamental human rights, to be unjust and illegitimate. The population is thus divided between upper-tier citizens, who possess a pass and can access basic services (transport, healthcare, catering, etc.) and lower-tier citizens, who do not have a pass.
In Italy, unlike in all other European countries, the Green Pass has been extended to schools and universities. As a result, students not in possession of a Green Pass are refused access to university facilities (classrooms, canteen, library, etc.): in short, they are denied the right to study. Likewise, teachers without a pass are suspended from teaching duties and receive no salary. This troubles and worries us enormously!
The word “university” comes from universitas, from vertere in unum: “turning into one”, which means welcoming the plurality of knowledge, but also the multiple bonds that are created between people. Under an medieval, noble rule promulgated in Italy, the Authentica Habita, university teaching staff and students were granted a series of specific rights in terms of hospitality, immunity, protection, freedom, and movement. These achievements of about 900 years ago became a civil and cultural reference in other areas of society. Precisely for this reason, discrimination in Italian universities, a beacon of civilization for many, acquires a dangerous symbolic value for all of us.
As a result of the Green Pass, Italian universities are no longer free and welcoming for everyone, nor are they forums for free thought and discussion. With the adoption of the Green Pass, universities become a government tool aimed at inducing teachers and young people to get vaccinated. The Green Pass in fact encourages them to sacrifice their ideas and intellectual freedom, as well as to abandon critical thinking. Universities are thus disowning their fundamental values and principles, and undermining their objectives.
We are shocked that most of academic bodies – as far as we know – allow such discrimination, which also translates into socio-economic discrimination, if we consider that those students who cannot or do not wish to be vaccinated, but who intend to follow lessons in person (as they are entitled to), will have to sustain monthly Covid-19 test costs of about €200. It is clear that only students from well-off families will be able to afford the “luxury” of the right to education!
For these reasons, we agree with the appeal made by Italian university teachers against the Green Pass (https://nogreenpassdocenti.wordpress.com) and firmly support the teachers, administrative staff and students engaged in this battle of civil rights. We hope that this discriminatory mechanism will be abolished as soon as possible.
1. Babette Babich, Department of Philosophy, Fordham University, NYC (USA)
2. Gaëlle Boucand Contractuelle à l’école des beaux-Arts de Toulouse, cinéaste, productrice (France)
3. Antoine Brès HDR en aménagement, chercheur associé à Géographie-Cité et à Prodig (France)
4. Elsa Brès, artiste et cinéaste, Bréau et Paris (France)
5. Carole H. Browner, Ph.D., M.P.H., Distinguished Research Professor, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles (USA).
6. Pietro Elia Campana, Associate Professor, Mälardalen University (Sweden)
7. David Vera Candeas, Associate Professor, University of Jaén (Spain)
8. Francesca Capelli, Associata di Grammatica Italiana, Università del Salvador – Buenos Aires (Argentina)
9. Guillaume Faburel, Professeur en Science Politique – Université Lumière Lyon 2, et Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne (France)
10. Daniel Geery, Educator, author, inventor SCL Utah (USA)
11. Francesco Gervasi, Profesor Investigador de Tiempo Completo Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, Facultad de Ciencias de la Comunicación, Coahuila de Zaragoza (México)
12. Ashwani Gupta, Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland (MD), (USA)
13. Maureen T. Hannah, Professor of Psychology, Siena College New York (USA)
14. Thomas S. Harrington Ph.D., Full Professor, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 06105 (USA)
15. Simon Harvey, Professor of Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden
16. Marie – Ange Jambu maîtresse de conférence associée à l’école nationale supérieure d’architecture de Paris -Belleville (France)
17. Daniele Joly, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick Coventry CV4 7AL (UK), CADIS-EHESS, College d’etudes mondiales FMSH Paris (France)
18. Susan Jones, computer programmer of medical software, USA
19. Valérie Jousseaume, Maîtresse de conférences en géographie de l’aménagement, HDR, Université de Nantes (France)
20. Francisco Jurado, Full Professor, University of Jaen (Spain)
21. Priscilla Karant, Assistant Clinical Professor New York University (USA)
22. Thaddeus Kozinski, Instructor in Spiritual Direction, Divine Mercy University (USA)
23. Markus Kraft, Fellow of Churchill College and Full Professor, University of Cambridge (UK)
24. Izabela Kurzawa, Academic Teacher, University of Life Sciences Poznań (Polonia)
25. Antonio Lecuona-Neumann, Full Professor, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, (España)
26. Guido Luzi, Senior Researcher, Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya – CTTC (España)
27. María Pilar Lisbona-Martín, Associate Professor, Universidad de Zaragoza, (España)
28. Béatrice Mariolle, professeure HDR en architecture, École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage de Lille, UMR AUSser (France)
29. Alberto Matarán Ruiz, Profesor of Urban and Spatial Planning, Universidad de Granada (España)
30. Rebeca Merino del Río, Ricercatrice a tempo determinato, Universidad de Sevilla (España)
31. Jaroslaw Milewski, Full professor Politechnika Warszawska (Politecnico di Varsavia)
32. Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication New York University (USA)
33. Meryl Nass, MD, Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Maine (USA).
34. Norie Neumark, Emeritus Professor, La Trobe University, Honorary Professorial Fellow, Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne (Australia)
35. Robert Olinski, M.Sc., PhD, Senior Scientist head of genomics team at Novozymes A/S headquarters (Denmark)
36. Mojca Pajnik, Associate Professor, Chair of Media Studies, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)
37. Mélusine Pagnier, doctorante au Lacth, École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage de Lille, (France)
38. Thierry Paquot, professeur émérite à l’Institut d’urbanisme de Paris – université Paris-Est Créteil Val-de-Marne (France)
39. Charles Pezeshki, Professor and Director, Industrial Design Clinic, Washington State University, Pullman, WA (USA)
40. Carlos Plaza Ricercatore a contrato, Universidad de Sevilla (España)
41. Sergio Porta, Professor of Urban Design, Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde Director of UDSU – Urban Design Studies Unit, Course Director MSc in Urban Design, Glasgow (UK).
42. William I. Robinson, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Global and International StudiesLatin American and Iberian Studies Affiliated Faculty, Chicana and Chicano Studies
University of California-Santa Barbara (USA).
43. Jan ter Schegget, Associate professor virology, retired, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
44. Rebecca L. Schmoyer, Consultant Writer, North Chatham, NY (USA)
45. Barbara Stiegler, professeure en philosofie politique, Université Bordeaux-Montaigne (France)
46. Fabrizio Soprano, pianista, Poznan, Polonia
47. Roberto Strongman, Associate Professor, Department of Black Studies University of California, Santa Barbara (USA)
48. Teresa Terrón Caro, profesora en el Departamento de Educación y Psicología Social. Universidad Pablo de Olavide (España)
49. Ismet Ugursal, Professor, Dalhousie University (Canada)
50. Maria Elena Versari, Storica dell’Arte e dell’Architettura, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Usa)
51. Matthew Witt, Professor of public administration, University of La Verne, California (USA).