Universiteit Leiden

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Statement Board FGGA

9 June 2020

On Tuesday 2 June we as a faculty posted on our Instagram account, a post that had the intentions of supporting the outrage behind the death of George Floyd. In hindsight, we can now acknowledge that this was not done properly and that our attempt to support a social media action ignored the actual problem at hand within our own structures. We know we have much work to do in this regard with each other.

We placed the post in the belief that we as a university are a mirror of society and that we owe it to society and to ourselves to reject racism. In America and elsewhere in the world, but also within our university and faculty.

There have been several incidents of discrimination and racism in the faculty and university in recent years. Following the flag incident (at the end of last year) there have been discussions with the students and study programmes involved We have made concrete agreements on how to deal with each other. The starting point established, in the case of transgressing behaviour, is to begin with an investigation followed up with a conversation and agreements with whomever is involved. We have also taken steps to  find structural solutions and take concrete interventions moving forward.

A task force within the faculty has been established with the aim to work on developing concrete plans to tackle discrimination and racism. Various initiatives have also been started within the individual institutes, such as a task force that is looking  at the curriculum and staff members at these institutes who have been given the task of promoting inclusiveness. Though some steps and actions have been set in motion already, we also acknowledge that things are not progressing nor moving as fast as we would like.

In order to make the faculty more inclusive, structural attention must be paid to inclusiveness in our educational programmes. There must be a clear contact point for complaints about racism and discrimination. The code of conduct for students and staff must be clarified and transparent. Additionally, we will organise events and opportunities to further discuss the issues of and around racism.

We want to work on that together with you. Therefore, based on the previous activities and your feedback, we will draw up an agenda together in the coming weeks with concrete actions to be agreed upon together. Some items may take a little more time to work on and achieve effective results than others. Our wish is that in the coming period, we will together, work and constructively agree on effective measures to promote a more inclusive faculty in which we eliminate racism and discrimination as much as possible.

Faculty Board Governance and Global Affairs,

Erwin Muller

Koen Caminada

Jacqueline Schut

Thomas van Klaveren

Comments: communicatie@fgga.leidenuniv.nl

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