Universiteit Leiden

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Corona virus is no reason to exclude anyone

7 February 2020

The outbreak of the corona virus has reverberated around the world. Although there are currently no known cases in Leiden or in the Netherlands, the situation is having an impact on staff and students at our university.

Colleagues and students with links to the Wuhan region are concerned about their friends and family, and people returning from the region face questions about infection. There are also an increasing number of reports that people of Asian appearance in the Netherlands are subject to negative comments and tasteless jokes, which can make them feel excluded at a time when they deserve our sympathy.

A safe working and learning environment

Leiden University aims to foster an inclusive learning and working environment where everyone feels safe and welcome, and where everyone can achieve their potential. ‘Racism and exclusion have no place at our institution,’ says Vice-Rector Hester Bijl. ‘Inclusiveness is a shared responsibility. Everyone can do their part to build a working and learning environment where we all feel at home, especially at this time.’ Diversity Officer Aya Ezawa adds, ‘When it comes to exclusion and racism, we shouldn’t only focus on the perpetrators. We need to respect and acknowledge the experiences of our colleagues and fellow students who may be feeling excluded because of other people’s comments and behaviour.’ 

Points of contact

Staff members are advised take any questions and concerns to their supervisors. The Diversity Office, led by Aya Ezawa, is another point of contact if you have questions about diversity and inclusiveness, or in exceptional cases of exclusion. If you have experienced this exclusion, please e-mail the Diversity Office at diversiteit@leidenuniv.nl. If you would prefer to speak to someone, you can approach the university’s confidential counsellors for unacceptable behaviour.

If you are a student and you have concerns or questions about the situation, you are advised to contact your study adviser. Students can also e-mail any questions about inclusiveness and about how to deal with their experiences to the Diversity Office at diversiteit@leidenuniv.nl. There is a separate confidential counsellor for unacceptable behaviour for students, and you can also contact the Ombuds Officer.

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