Students slam persecution of campus editorial board over LGBT love story

Kumparan – March 28, 2019
Student protest in front of USU rectorate – March 29, 2019 (Sumut News)
Student protest in front of USU rectorate – March 29, 2019 (Sumut News)

Medan, Sumut News – Students from the group Student Solidarity Speaking Out (Somber) from the North Sumatra University (USU) held a protest action in front of the USU rectorate on Thursday March 28.

During the action they condemned the attitude of the USU rectorate for revoking the accreditation of the Suara USU (Voice of USU) editorial board.

“The rector made a unilateral decision which has harmed students, particularly the student press. This is a form of persecution. We students strongly oppose the persecution of new ideas and creativity”, said action coordinator Felix Cristiano.

Cristiano said that the move was a form of authoritarianism and a failure on the part of campus authorities to understand the meaning of freedom of expression, association and opinion.

“Excessive censorship and intervention should not be part of academic life which is democratic and holds human rights in the highest esteem”, he explained.

Cristiano said that if the letter dismissing the Suara USU editorial board is not withdrawn by the rectorate they will continue to hold protest actions.

As has been reported, the USU rectorate dismissed the student press Suara USU editorial board. The move followed the publication of a lesbian love story titled When Everyone Refuses My Presence Near Her (Ketika Semua Menolak Kehadiran Diriku Di Dekatnya) on the Suara USU website.

The decision was taken after the rectorate summoned the Suara USU editorial board on Monday March 25. Prior to dismissing the editorial board, the website was also suspended.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Pengurus Persma Suara USU Diberhentikan, Mahasiswa Gelar Unjuk Rasa”.]