Concerns and manifestations at the university

Many at Radboud University are increasingly concerned about the armed conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The ever-increasing number of victims, including students and academic staff, is shocking. Voices of protest from university students and employees worldwide against human rights violations – in the horrific attack on October 7 in southern Israel and then on an unimaginable scale in the Palestinian territories – are becoming increasingly louder; also in our country, and also in Nijmegen.

Protest meetings have been announced throughout the Netherlands for next week, also by students and staff of Radboud University. As university board, we would like to emphasize that we share in the horror of human rights violations and that we fully support the repeated calls for an end to violence against innocent civilians and for humanitarian aid to be permitted.

The university wants to be, and must be, a place where academic dialogue is made possible on current social issues and where conversations about these issues can take place, even if they are complex and/or sensitive. The basic principle is that this is done in an open and safe manner for all parties. Students and employees are free to express their opinions as long as this goes without racism, sexism, discrimination, violation, (physical) threats, or the use of slogans that call for violence and/or exclusion.

As was clearly stated in the executive board’s column last week, as university board we strongly believe it is our core task to facilitate the academic dialogue. We want to provide employees and students with the opportunity to clearly make their polyphonic voices heard, as long as – in doing so – they adhere to the university’s code of conduct and general rules of decency. The fundamental role of the university as a “home for open academic debate” can be fulfilled precisely if everyone adheres to the equally fundamental rules of conduct of respect for the body, property and mind of everyone else on campus.

Generally, we view international cooperative contacts between academic staff as an opportunity to maintain an open line of communication, even in times of conflict. The frequently heard request to be, as university, transparent about our cooperative agreements with other universities we deem understandable. Taking it a step beyond the current context, we think it is important to be clear about partners with whom Radboud University has entered (or will enter) cooperative agreements, for what purposes, and on the basis of which criteria; we intend to make our policy on this explicit and, of course, also discuss the critical considerations involved with the participation bodies.

Finally: we feel connected to everyone, both within and outside our academic community, who is affected by the violence of war. In collaboration with the Dutch Universities, Radboud University advocates that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is committed to capacity building in the Palestinian areas and lowering institutional fees (exemptions) for students from Palestinian areas. When individual students or staff contact Radboud University for help, we want to determine on a case-by-case basis whether customization is possible.

Students and staff who have questions or wish to raise concerns about the situation in the Palestinian territories or Israel, or about its consequences at Radboud University, can contact our central contact point info [at] ru.nl. This also applies to those affected by violence elsewhere in the world.

Daniël Wigboldus, Agnes Muskens, José Sanders – Executive Board of Radboud University

Heleen Murre-Van den Berg, Paula Fikkert, Roel Schutgens, Sijbrand de Jong, Guillén Fernández, Evelyn Kroesbergen, Saskia Lavrijssen – Deans of Radboud University