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Decolonialism, Islamophobia … Sciences-Po Grenoble students destabilized by controversies



This year, Sciences-Po Grenoble is torn apart. On Islamophobia, decolonialism and, before that, on sexual and gender-based violence. “It’s an accumulation of tensions, increased by the Covid crisis, describes Ingrid (1), a student at the school. Rather than discussing in the lecture halls, after class, everything happened on social networks. And it went into a spin. “

On March 4, controversies spilled over from the grounds of the grande école iséroise with the display of the names of two professors accused of “Fascism” and “Islamophobia”, including a German teacher who criticized the use of the term Islamophobia in the title of a working group.

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A student union relays these accusations on a social network, the prosecution opens an investigation, the Minister of the Interior goes there and one of the targeted teachers begins a tour of the news channels to denounce the “Cancel culture” (2) which has undermined the Grenoble Institute of Political Studies (IEP) for a handful of years. ” We heard everything, whether we were Islamogauchists or ‘woke’ (3)… We were passed off as extremists ”, regrets Lionel, for whom “More than 70%” students “Have nothing to do with these cartoons”.

The specific context of the crisis

Like Ingrid, Lionel is angry with his German teacher for bringing the debate to Cnews and BFMTV: “I like this teacher, he is very provocative, but nice. Afterwards, he describes himself as liberal, more on the right, and we have other teachers on the far left, so I don’t really see the problem. We are no longer 15, we know how to form our opinions. The discussion on Islamophobia, if it could have taken place in a room and not by email, we would not be there… ”

→ EXPLANATION. Sciences-Po Grenoble: what does academic freedom cover?

“The student is right, if there had not been the confinement, if we had been around a table, this case would not have seen the light of day, confirms Klaus Kinzler, the German teacher, whose tone in the email exchanges could have been acidic, even brutal. But look at the latest case, the organization of this decolonial month supported by the school (the management of Sciences-Po, the city and the University of Grenoble-Alpes, initially presented as partners, have dissociated themselves), it is a sign that there is a problem. “

A “climate of violence between students”

The choice by the IEP of Grenoble to subsidize this festival which begins this Thursday, June 10 and aims to “Deconstructing the post-colonial imagination”, was taken at the start of the semester in the Studies and Student Life Council, explains the professor, “A forum where extremist students have taken power.” The finding is undoubtedly exaggerated, but several students confirm the “Toxic climate” installed by several very militant groups.

→ DEBATE. Is the university protected from ideological drifts?

Two inspectors dispatched by the Ministry of Higher Education also concluded in April at a “Climate of violence between students », Pointing to the responsibility of several associations. It is not more than 50 people from the school, but if you do not espouse their speech, their methods of struggle, it can be violent, explains a student. Not physically, but online you can get lynched. ”

Lionel, who is angry with them “Even more than Kinzler and the Covid for having ruined the year”, quotes Contre-current, which boasts of being “the most left-wing association of Sciences-Po Grenoble”, co-organizer of the Decolonial Month, but also the Union Syndicale (a split from the UNEF), or even Of all kinds!

“It started at the time of #SciencesPorcs”, he recounts. ” Everyone was shocked to learn that there was so much sexual and gender-based violence in school evenings, continues Ingrid, who says she herself was a victim. But the Union Syndicale and All Kinds! made it an extremist struggle. All the men were designated as rapists, the management as an accomplice… ”

Students failed to see how much the administration refused to dialogue, defends a member of the Union Syndicale. Afterwards we may have made mistakes, but it’s a mess. Between that and the Covid, a lot of students have failed to attend classes. There were burnouts, depressions. “ When asked, the management of the IEP did not wish to answer us.

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Several months of crisis

December 2020. Beginning of the controversy over Islamophobia between two professors.

February 2021. The #SciencesPorcs movement is spreading, denouncing sexual and gender-based violence committed within different IEPs or in student parties.

March. Display of the names of the two teachers on the walls of the institute.

April. Submission by two inspectors of a report concluding the “deleterious climate” within the establishment.

June. Organization of the “Decolonial Month”.

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