Statement by the Rectors of the Catalan Association of Public Universities
We form part of the public universities of Catalonia, institutions with a stong conviction in the need to defend the freedom of expression and the confrontation of ideas. Under this premise, and given the exceptional political situation existing in Catalonia, we wish to manifest our position to the public.
On 24 March 2018, as the maximum representatives of the public universities in Catalonia, we the rectors emitted a statement manifesting our profound unease for the imprisonment of several Catalan politicians and civil leaders. We also affirmed that depriving them of their freedom was an error and that there were other alternatives to deal with the situation existing in Catalonia.
Today, 14 October 2019, the Supreme Court's ruling has been made public and as we did on that day, we wish to reiterate our indignation for the current situation in Catalonia, as well as our concern for the personal circumstances suffered by those affected by this sentence.
As expressed in other occasions, the universities defend, at all times, dialogue as a way to solve conflicts; dialogue within a framework of a culture of peace and against any type of violence. Fostering dialogue is one of the university's characteristic traits, and history has demonstrated that it is the best way to solve political and social conflicts.
Our universities are communities formed by individuals with different ideologies, where all ideas and manifestations are accepted. This results in the generation of different evaluations of the current situation. We therefore confirm once again the need to solve past, present and future political problems politically, and not permit that they be systematically dealt with judicially.
In this sense, we call out to all political actors once again to join forces and work to find as quickly as possible a solution to the existing political problem; one which a large majority of Catalan citizens can adhere to. Only by recognising and and respecting each other and each person's right to defend their beliefs, always in a democratic and pacific manner, can we find a solution to the conflict which in no way should be allowed to become chronic and which can cause irreversible social fractures.
Finally, we wish to reach out to those affected by the Supreme Court's ruling, some of them members of our universities, and express our solidarity with them and their family and friends in such difficult moments.
Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, 14 October 2019
Catalan Association of Public Universities