Universiteit Leiden

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A message from the Executive Board

These are turbulent times at Dutch universities. We have all seen what has been and is still happening at various campuses in the country. Protests, demonstrations, occupations. Situations and scenes that deeply affect us all.

Here at Leiden University, members of our community have felt unsafe or angry for some time because of the ongoing war in Gaza and other developments in the world. They have questions or demands. The recent events at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University are also causing concern on our campus. The same goes for the protests we have faced on our own campus this week.

We too are concerned about what is going on. As the Executive Board and deans of Leiden University, we want to do our utmost to keep our community together and safe. We also want to provide some clarity. We believe this to be an opportune moment to inform you of a number of matters and would therefore like to share a few documents.

  • First, an overview of safety on our campus. Here you can read, for example, about the status concerning a number of incidents from the recent past. We also explain the duties and powers of our staff and why certain safety measures are necessary. 
  • We are also sharing a one-pager listing what is (and is not) possible regarding protests at our university. Essentially, it is an abridged version of our house rules that follows the guidelines issued earlier this week by the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL). 
  • And, as indicated yesterday, we are informing you about our provisional policy on our partnerships with Israeli universities. This policy has resulted from the many conversations we have had in recent months with, among others, the University Council and experts and groups from our university community. In the follow-up, we will intensively involve the student and staff participation organs.

By sharing this information with you, we hope to create more clarity and understanding within our university community. Hate speech, discrimination, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and incitement to violence have no place at our university. We must remain open to other opinions and beliefs. This is what has united us for almost 450 years, making us a bastion of freedom.

Annetje Ottow, Hester Bijl and Martijn Ridderbos
Executive Board, Leiden University

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