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Steps to be taken by UvA in response to protests

Published on 20-05-2024
Message to students and staff from the Executive Board and Deans 20-05.
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Dear colleagues and students,

The events on campus have affected you and us deeply. In the conversations we continue to have and the many emails we receive, we feel the anger and pain about the police actions on campus, about students and staff who do not feel safe, about disruptions to our education, about the unprecedented violence of the Israeli army in Gaza and the destruction of the educational infrastructure, about the Israeli hostages who have not yet been freed, the absence of a ceasefire, and why the university is not severing ties with Israel.

As a university we are socially engaged and critical. That unique characteristic is now leading to great division and distrust. We find ourselves at odds with each other and are not always able to engage in dialogue with one another. Many people are concerned about this.

What is happening in Gaza is terrible and it just keeps going relentlessly. We have clearly understood the call from students and staff: the UvA must take action, in a manner befitting the role of an engaged and critical university. At the same time, opinions are divided on what exactly we should do. Therefore, we will proceed with the following actions:

First of all, over the coming weeks, we will continue conversations with colleagues and students. These discussions will focus on what is currently happening within the university, how people are experiencing it, how we can de-escalate the situation, and how we can move forward together and restore trust. To avoid any misunderstandings: we will do this with all our students and staff, including those who have (peacefully) protested. The first discussions for this week have already been scheduled.

Secondly, we want to engage in discussions about how we can provide space for voices and protests while simultaneously ensuring a safe environment for everyone. These discussions may potentially lead to adjustments but will in any case clarify the agreements on how we interact on campus (including our house rules). 

Thirdly, this week we will begin working on criteria to assess international (and national) collaborations on ethical aspects. We aim to maintain scientific connections as much as possible, but only within ethical frameworks, including human rights. Currently, we lack sufficient guidelines to make careful assessments. All faculties will organise broad, inclusive dialogues in the form of round tables, so that within a few weeks we will have an updated ethical framework for external collaboration, against which new and existing projects will be evaluated. Until the updated ethical framework is ready, we will not enter into new collaborations in areas that are in war. The framework will be completed by the end of this academic year.

Finally, we call on everyone to help ensure the university is safe for all of us. Speak out, but be considerate of each other as well. Engage in discussions, but also listen to colleagues and students with differing opinions. As the university's administration, we are eager to engage in dialogue with you. We are collectively responsible for finding a way to move forward together.

The Executive Board
Geert ten Dam, Chair
Jan Lintsen, Vice-Chair
Peter-Paul Verbeek, Rector Magnificus
Leon van de Zande, Secretary

Roel Beetsma, Dean of Economics and Business
Mireille van Eechoud, Dean of the Faculty of Law
Agneta Fischer, Dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Marieke de Goede, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities
Hans Romijn, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry
Yvo Roos, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
Peter van Tienderen, Dean of the Faculty of Science

Frequently asked questions 

Visit uva.nl/protestsExternal link for more information regarding last week's demonstrations and the current situation on campus. 

What is the UvA doing for students who feel unsafe? 

In the event of an immediate physical threat or emergency

Call security: 020 525 2222

This number is not intended for general, non-urgent questions about safety.

Questions and concerns

There are different people you can approach, such as a study adviser, a student psychologist or a confidential adviser. Go to information and contact details.

Finally, talks are organised at various places within the UvA where there is an opportunity to discuss recent events. Keep an eye on the calendar