Lecturers show support for pro-Palestine encampment

On Friday, around twenty lecturers publicly announced support for the protesters at the pro-Palestine encampment. They read a statement in which they urge the UG to comply with the students’ demands.

The staff members also expressed their disappointment in the university for tightening protest rules on campus grounds, citing the recent installation of cameras on the Broerplein as an example.

‘We refuse to be complicit. We are concerned about the risks to the students’ safety from police violence, violations of privacy, and intimidation that constraints fundamental freedoms’, said Alexander Martin, assistant professor from the Faculty of Arts, on behalf of the group.

Demands and criticism

Aside from endorsing the students’ demands, like the UG to cut ties with Israel, the staff members also presented their own demands. These have been published on the website of Dutch Scholars for Palestine.

The staff wants the university to take a clear stance regarding the ‘genocide of the Palestinian people’, they want no police intervention on campus, and they want the university to stop insinuating that the pro-Palestine movement creates an unsafe environment for Jewish students and staff.

Nearly a hundred members

According to staff members who spoke to UKrant, there is a WhatsApp group which includes almost one hundred critical staff members. This group could be bigger, however, as supposedly many more people are angry with the UG when it comes to Gaza.

‘Many staff members are afraid to be publicly announce their support of Palestine. The more of us dare to go public, the less staff will be afraid’, said Hans Wilke, assistant professor at the Faculty of Arts.

Not without risks

Lecturers say they are aware of the possible risks they run by speaking up publicly. Martin is from the United States and therefore needs a work visa. Wilke does not have a permanent contract at the UG.

They fear repercussions from the UG, but that doesn’t stop them from speaking up. ‘My ability to stay in this country depends on my employment. But if I can’t speak my mind, if I can’t stand for what is right, then it doesn’t matter. There are students here who are risking more than we are. They can get expelled. So us amplifying their voices is a very small gesture compared to what they are actually doing.’

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