Day 4

Day Four of the pro-European Ukrainian rising:
From the outset, a core of organising students at the Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University were determined to strike, regardless of the university’s official position. The University has still not made an official, public statement on its stance regarding the nationwide student strike. The city’s Oil and Gas University’s students were permitted to strike from 12:00, while the Medical University students here, as in Lviv, have been forbidden from participating with sanctions of fines, grade deductions and exclusion a consequence of missing classes for them.
The confusion at the Precarpathian meant uncertainty among students as to whether to participate initially. Ultimately, each department issued its own guidelines, with some Deans giving full support, while others issued bans on student participation or a threat that missed classes must be made up for at some point in future. Notably, the Law Institute refused to sanction its students’ participation, while in some departments individual lecturers imposed bans or restrictions. 
Foreign Languages issued permission for participation in organised protests with no sanctions for missed classes. However, some students I spoke to took this permission to mean an order to march, and thus clearly were not participating with a sense of free will. It also became evident that some students who claimed to be marching had actually skipped class and headed home or to a cafe. To be honest, the sleet and cold wind made conditions foul.
Several thousand students – estimates range from 2-10 thousand – marched through the city, collecting colleagues from the Oil and Gas University before listening to speeches and music from the central Euromaydan, the occupied square here. The crowd then moved spontaneously on to the Івано-Франківська Обласна Державна Адміністрація, the Regional Administration office (aka The White House), thus recreating the occupation site of the Orange Revolution.
Here the head of the city administration and the regional administration appeared, the latter being a member of the Party of Regions. Both supported the students’ actions and the general protest, as well as Ukraine’s European aspirations.
The protests dispersed after a few hours, although the consequence of today’s organised student protest has been to encourage more participation in the occupation of the city.
It is clear that many students participated without sensing that this was their free will, which is a problem for encouraging broader protest in this attempted revolution or in encouraging campaigning towards improving their everyday conditions at university or in their city. However, a core of organised students have indicated that it is possible to defy the university authorities. Whether or not the biggest inspiration for participation was the particular idea of European integration, or even a variant of popular patriotism/nationalism, or simply the fact that “everyone is here”, cannot be established.


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