The group of students that occupied the Academy building on Wednesday afternoon and evening to protest the lack of social safety at the university, have ended their protest after a meeting with the UG’s board of directors.
On Wednesday afternoon, approximately fifty students occupied the steps in the Academy building to protest the lack of social safety at the university in general and the dismissal of Susanne Täuber in particular.
Täuber was an expert in social safety at the UG who was recently fired for a ‘damaged working relationship’. Critics say that Täuber is being silenced and punished for her criticism of power structures at the uni.
Harassment and discrimination
The protesters demand the university to review its current society safety policy with the conclusions of the Young Academy Groningen report on harassment and discrimination in mind, among other things. They also want the UG to improve how complaints about any of these issues are processed.
The board has spoken to the occupiers about everything the UG is already doing to improve social safety, as well as what it still plans to do. The protest ended on Wednesday evening after the UG board has promised to issue a joint statement on social safety at the university on Thursday.
In the two-page statement, the UG and students say that ‘a socially safe university for students and staff will always be the focus of the academic community’: how can unsafe situations be prevented, how can the university react adequately, and how can they ensure that they communicate properly?
The university remarks that it’s already doing a lot to improve social safety and that there are plans for the near future. This spring, the UG is starting a campaign on social safety, and nearly two thousand staff and students have participated in Active Bystander training. This training course, which will be expanded upon in the future, helps people prevent inappropriate behaviour.
The students and the UG board have agreed to meet again in three weeks to determine what else is needed.