The University of Barcelona has been convicted for the manifesto it published when it learned of the verdicts and sentences against the Catalan pro-independence leaders in last year's Supreme Court trial, which denounced the "authoritarian drift" of the powers of the Spanish state, claimed the right of self-determination of Catalonia and called for the immediate release of the prisoners. The judge considered that the statement "violates the right to education, freedom of expression and ideological freedom," and thus declared the resolution null and void and ordered the campus to pay costs.
The platform Universitaris per la Convivència - "Universities for Social Harmony" - laid a complaint about the declaration and a Barcelona administrative disputes court has now convicted the institution of having "violated the ideological neutrality" of the centre. The University of Lleida, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, the Rovira i Virgili University, Pompeu Fabra University and the University of Girona also published the manifesto, but in their cases, it has not reached the courts.
"The university is part of the public administration and is not an institution of political representation. Therefore, it is subject to a duty of neutrality and this duty implies that the university cannot assume a certain political position as its own, much less when this position is manifestly contrary to the values and principles of the current legal system," the ruling states. In addition, it obliges the University to publish the sentence on its website for one month.
About the manifesto
The manifesto, which had been approved by the university senate, described the trial sentences as unjust, demanded the suspension of all ongoing judicial processes related to the independence consultation and rejected the repression and police violence carried out by the Spanish state.
The starting point for the initiative was the agreement by the members of the collectives of the different Catalan universities to hold a special senate meeting at each university after the Supreme Court verdicts were made public, to read a joint statement against the repression of the State and put it to a vote. The manifesto was approved by all Catalan public universities, and as such, by their respective senates, which are the highest representative bodies of the university community. In addition, in all cases, the votes in favour exceeded three-quarters of the quorum, that is, they were passed by large majorities.