Radboud universiteit huistijl beeld
Radboud universiteit huistijl beeld

Concerns and actions at Radboud University – Summer update 5

With the summer holidays around the corner, it is time for an update around events related to the Gaza/Palestine debate.

Our first update, five weeks ago, was followed by several tumultuous weeks that culminated in the evacuation of the tent camp and the temporary designation of P7a as the only permitted demonstration site. The following weeks were calmer, following which the Mayor lifted the additional measures for Gaza/pro-Palestine demonstrations. The regular rules for rallies and demonstrations remain valid, and can be found in the separate explanations provided by the Municipality and the University.

Progress Partnerships Advisory Committee
The Executive Board of Radboud University has undertaken to create a value-based and sustainable evaluation policy to provide direction and guidance in assessing collaboration with partner institutions in conflict zones.

On 8 June, the rectors of the Dutch universities published a joint open letter in Trouw, entitled ‘We don't want to isolate Israeli scholars’. This letter states that the universities have no intention of suddenly and categorically severing all ties with a particular country. We were later asked whether this signified the end of the Partnerships Advisory Committee previously announced by Radboud University. The answer is ‘no’.

The quartermaster group is now well on its way to working out the assessment framework, scope, and modus operandi of this soon to be established committee. The plan is still to launch the Partnerships Advisory Committee before the start of the new academic year, and provide them with a concrete starting document for assessing international partnerships, starting with partnerships with institutions in large-scale conflict areas. This currently includes Israel and the Palestinian territories. Similarly to the existing Academic Integrity Committee, the Advisory Committee will, where needed, be able to call on the knowledge of experts within and outside our University.

In addition, the Executive Board is engaging in initial talks with the directors of Israeli partner institutions. In these talks, the Board is sharing its serious concerns regarding human rights violations, and openly and insistently addressing the core values of academic freedom. The responses of the Israeli partner institutions will be shared with the Advisory Committee to be formed, to be included in their assessment.

Prior coordination around rallies

The Executive Board remains committed to enabling a multi-voiced debate at the University. Unannounced rallies and demonstrations repeatedly lead to questions and confusion. Due to the spontaneous nature of such gatherings, we have to assess at the very last moment whether the gathering is designed in a way that is acceptable to everyone. Much of this unrest could be prevented by giving timely notice of debates and demonstrations, at least two, but preferably five working days in advance, to our colleagues at Campus & Facilities: servicecentre-cf [at] ru.nl (servicecentre-cf[at]ru[dot]nl). This enables the University's organisers and facilities staff to coordinate wishes and requirements, which is to everyone's benefit.