The Front of the Communist Youth (FGC) in Italy has begun a petition, #EmergenzaUniversità, demanding support and protection for students across the country during the ongoing emergency. FGC said that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed to the brink the country’s universities, which are already stressed due to the massive cuts in state funding and the model of autonomy. The campaign has been launched in more than 40 universities across the country, including in Rome, Milan, Florence, Milan, Venice, Turin, Verona, Pisa, Palermo and Padua.
FGC has demanded that the government enhance the accessibility of online courses, ensure availability of research papers and journals online, freeze university fees and rents, and disburse scholarships.
In a statement, FGC said, “Faced with a coutrywide emergency, the government has restored the autonomy of individual universities to manage the situation. These at best activated online classes, leaving so many questions without an answer. There are thousands of students who are forced to make rent payments without scholarships and quarantine subsidies.”
“We continue to demand the payment of university fees in a crisis context and with online teaching reduced to the necessary minimum. Thousands of students are at risk of being excluded or stretching their courses in the absence of sufficient means to support graduation and university exams,” FGC added.
FGC and Giovani Comunisti (GC) had earlier demanded that the government take immediate measures to aid millions of school students in the country who are unable to access compulsory online classes started during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Italian government has imposed a national quarantine since March 9. As of April 16, over 165,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the country, with over 21,600 deaths recorded.