Universiteit Leiden

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Panel discussion

The Securitisation of Leiden University

Monday 15 April 2024
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague

About the event

Leiden University has experienced a series of controversies related to security on campus and how this impacts academic freedom. Security measures put in place often with little explanation - including the normalisation of LU card checks for entry into buildings, sudden shut-downs of buildings, and banning of activities - have raised concerns amongst staff and students. And yet it remains unclear who or what such measures are supposed to keep safe. Instead of feeling safe, community members have felt increasingly nervous about discussing issues such as the horrors happening in Palestine. Importantly, specific members of the LU community have been especially affected.

Staff and students successfully challenged the University’s startling choice to install AI cameras on campus, which would have had grave implications for academic freedom. Groups such as Students for Palestine and End Fossil Occupy find it difficult to book rooms for events without them being vetted by non-expert decisionmakers and even have the police called on them. Such measures culminated in an incident on 9 November 2023 when security staff assaulted participants of a teach-in, followed them even after they had exited the building, and targeted minority students for personal ID checks. Above all, there seems to be a sense of poor communication between the leadership and the community.

This panel discussion, which is open to staff, students, and management of LU, aims to foster a community conversation about the securitisation of LU and the resulting sense of anxiety in the community. Jointly organised by the Decolonising Collective Leiden and broader Leiden University staff and students, the event provides a space to reflect on these recent measures, how we got here, and share experiences and perspectives. Together, we will explore various questions: how are specific groups and individuals experiencing LU’s securitisation in their lives? Can we make sense of the securitisation of LU in light of scholarly concepts and theories? And how can the university’s institutional practices be brought back in line with shared community values?


  • Hilde van Meegdenburg, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Political Science with expertise in state foreign policy, security, and research methods
  • Francesco Ragazzi, Associate Professor at the Institute of Political Science with expertise in critical security studies in IR and member of the Unsee US movement to prevent AI security cameras
  • Carla, member of End Fossil Occupy and student at the Leiden University College
  • Ghali Bahbouhi, member of Students for Palestine and student at the Leiden University College

The event will be moderated by Dr. Densua Mumford, committee member of the Decolonising Collective and Assistant Professor at the Leiden University College.

Register here

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