Statement by the rectors of Catalan public universities regarding the ruling of the independence leaders

On 14 October, the rectors of Catalan public universities issued a statement regarding the Supreme Court ruling of the independence leaders.

Oct 14, 2019


Given the exceptional political situation in Catalonia, we, as Catalan public universities, as institutions that share the firm conviction that the right to freedom of expression and to challenge ideas must be defended, wish to publicly express what our position is.

On 24 March 2018, the highest authorities of Catalan public universities issued a statement in which we expressed our deep unease at the imprisonment of Catalan political leaders and politicians, and affirmed that depriving these people of their freedom was a mistake and that there were others ways to approach the situation in Catalonia.

Today, 14 October 2019, we have learnt of the judicial decision and we wish to express, as we did in March, our indignation regarding the situation in Catalonia, as well as our concern for the personal circumstances of those affected by the ruling.

As we have stated on other occasions, our universities favour dialogue as the route to solving conflict at all times, that is, dialogue within a culture of peace that is against the use of any kind of violence. Fostering dialogue is a defining feature of universities, and history shows us that it is the best way to solve political and social conflict.

Our universities are ideologically diverse communities in which there is room for everyone’s ideas and political expression, and this means that there are different opinions on the current situation. However, we once again wish to highlight the need for past, present and future political problems to be solved by political means and for them not to systematically end up being the subject of a judicial process. 

We call on all political actors to renew their efforts to find a way out of the political conflict we are immersed in that is acceptable to a large majority of Catalan citizens. Only by recognising and respecting others and their right to defend their ideas democratically and peacefully can we find a way out of a conflict that we must do all we can to prevent from becoming chronic and leading to irreversible social fracture.

Finally, we wish to express our solidarity to the people affected by the sentences, some of whom have been linked to our universities, in what are certainly difficult moments for them, their families and their friends.

Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, 14 October 2019