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Statement from the Executive board: taking care of one another

The world is currently beset by many problems. The armed conflict and continuing violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories is resulting in numerous casualties. This is giving rise to many emotions and reactions worldwide, and also greatly affecting our own university community. We have seen strong expressions on social media and, as the Executive Board, we are receiving many responses and requests for support. We understand and share the concerns that people are feeling. We ourselves are not unmoved by this situation.

Sharing knowledge

Even at a time like this, our university is naturally a place where we reflect on such terrible events. Our researchers and teachers play an important role in interpreting and sharing knowledge. For example, on 18 October there was a well-attended meeting on Understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict for students and teaching staff of the International Studies and Urban Studies programmes. Professors Maurits Berger (Islam and the West) and Sarah Cramsey (Central European Studies, Judaism and Diaspora Studies) offered an explanation and answered questions.

The meeting was a harmonious event. Both of the professors emphasised the importance of the university as a place where people have the privilege and also the responsibility to enter into open discussion with people from all parts of the world, on the basis of the many sources available to the university. A meeting of this kind is a valuable means to reflect on what is happening in the world and to consider what this evokes. We do not hesitate to address difficult or perhaps controversial issues, but aim to do this respectfully and in a way that is safe for everyone.

Safe place

It is always important, including in conversations with one another, to choose our words carefully and to take account of how our message comes across to the other. We will not permit expressions of intolerance, the exclusion of groups or incitement of hate and violence. Our university must be a safe place, now and in the future, with a focus on connection and knowledge exchange.

Given that the university must be a safe place for us all, with effect from 23 October we have tightened the security measures in our buildings in Leiden and The Hague. Staff and students will be asked to show their LU-Card more often; the precise arrangements will be made per building. We realise that these measure may raise questions: they are emphatically intended as a form of care for our community. We understand that this imposes many demands on everyone.

May we please take care of one another and look out for one another.

Annetje Ottow, Hester Bijl and Martijn Ridderbos
Executive Board

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