Universiteit Leiden

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Are there questions that should not be raised at university?

Friday 10 November 2023
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden

The university’s Academic Freedom Core Team is holding a dialogue session on the question: Are there questions that should not be raised at university? All Leiden University students and staff are welcome to participate. The session will be in Dutch but you will be able to ask and answer questions in English.

The session will focus on the scope of academic freedom. What are possible limits to this in terms of choosing your subject and methodology: does this feel free or are there limitations?

Why this dialogue?

Over the 2022-2023 academic year, the Academic Freedom Core Team held confidential interviews with students, staff and administrators at Leiden University. It emerged that the freedom to choose your own subject and method is a talking point at the university and that this topic engenders some questions, discomfort and differences of opinion.

What are we going to do?

The meeting has two main goals. The first is to enable students and staff to share their experiences and listen to one another’s views and arguments. The second is to decide whether further discussions are needed on this issue and if so, in what form.


09:30 Opening by Rector Magnificus Prof. Hester Bijl
09:40 Introduction | Arie-Jan Kwak (assistant professor at the Department of Jurisprudence at Leiden Law School) and Roos van Oosten (assistant professor at the Department of World Archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology) will briefly state their views on the question and will share their experiences
10:00 Dialogue | Moderated discussion in four groups of the main and resulting questions
11:00 Coffee/tea
11:15 Plenary feedback and further discussion
12:00 Closing thoughts and lunch

The session and subgroups will be chaired by members of the Academic Freedom Core Team.


The dialogue is only open to Leiden University students and staff and will use the Chatham House Rule. This means that participants may use the information received during the session but may not reveal the identity of the other participants. The meeting will therefore not be recorded nor will you be permitted to make your own audio or video recordings.

The working language of the session will be Dutch but you will be able to ask questions and make comments in English. These will be translated by the chairperson. The working language of at least one of the subgroups will be English (participants can state a preference when they register).


Please note: Registration for the dialogue is required. There is room for 80 participants.

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