6 May 2024
Gaza Solidarity Encampment Amsterdam: No Police Violence on our Campus

Statement by Faculty & Staff of UvA, VU, and AUC

Signatures by Students and Alumni welcome

To: the Executive Boards of our universities and the academic community at large

Monday May 6, 2024

On Monday May 6, a coalition of students from the University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, and Amsterdam University College have set up a Gaza solidarity encampment on the Roeterseiland campus in Amsterdam. Students demand that the universities fully comply with the Freedom of Information case so that their ties with Israeli institutions and companies are disclosed; that the universities cease all academic collaborations with Israeli institutions that participate in genocide, apartheid, and the exploitation of the Palestinian people and their land; and that the universities cease all contracts with and divest from Israeli companies, and international companies/funds, that profit from genocide, apartheid, and exploitation of the Palestinian people and their land.

The Amsterdam Gaza Solidarity encampment joins more than 150 student encampments on campuses across Europe and the US. We recognize these student actions as part of a long-standing, historically significant, and global tradition of student protests against war and apartheid.

We also recognize that students, like all of us, have been watching almost 7 months of live-streamed onslaught on Gaza while governments and institutions in the West have mostly remained silent, supported the Israeli war effort, repressed critiques of that war effort, displayed blatant double standards, disregarded international law, withheld humanitarian support for a war-stricken Gaza, and more generally lacked ethical leadership that rises to the occasion.

Universities are places of learning. On our campuses, we teach and interpret international law, we study ethics and processes of dehumanization, we have research centres dedicated to human rights and to genocide. In times when “knowledge utilization” is greatly valued, we teach students to make the production of knowledge relevant to the world around us. We recognize that this is precisely what student encampments are doing: student encampments extend the educational mission of the university in critical ways.

We, as faculty and staff of the Amsterdam universities affirm our support for these students’ right to protest. While the undersigned may hold different positions when it comes to the war on Gaza, we are united in supporting the right of all members of the academic community, including students, to engage in peaceful protest. At least three fundamental democratic rights are at stake here: freedom of assembly (which includes protest), freedom of expression (which includes the right to say things that are uncomfortable or inconvenient), and academic freedom (which requires us to relate to solid knowledge, in this case academic knowledge on the question of Palestine).

These freedoms are protected by a range of rights included in the Dutch constitution, the European Convention of Human Rights, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. Moreover, staff members joining the protest are also protected by labour rights, and any repressive action regarding staff members peacefully protesting also risks violating labour law. The existence of spaces for assembly and free expression, and the assurance that institutions will not pursue punitive measures against protestors, is vital to ensure continued academic freedom on our campuses.

We urge the Executive Boards of our universities to firmly uphold these freedoms that are at the very heart of a university. This includes a commitment to refrain from violence: we firmly oppose police actions or repression on campus. And we urge the Executive Boards and the academic community at large to listen to and engage with the students and give serious consideration to their demands.

3,783 verified
  1. Enzo Rossi, Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam
  2. Lillian Cicerchia, Assistant Professor, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  3. Candida Leone, Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam
  4. Martijn Hesselink, Professor, European University Institute, Florence
  5. Sarah Bracke, Professor of Sociology of Gender and Sexuality, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  6. George Blaustein, Senior Lecturer, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  7. Dimitris Bouris, Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam
  8. Ali Hamdan, Assistant Professor, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  9. Brunilda Pali, Assistant Professor, University of Amsterdam
  10. Marthe, Assistant professor, VU, Amsterdam
  11. Nathan van Kleij, Lecturer, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  12. Sirri, Lana, Researcher, University of Amsterdam
  13. Jan Teurlings, Assistant professor, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  14. Mirthe Jiwa, Lecturer, University of Amsterdam
  15. Federico savini, Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  16. Lisa Haushofer, Assistant Professor, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  17. Simone Burger, PhD student, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  18. James S. Pearson, Postdoc, UvA, Amsterdam
  19. Carolina M. Frossard, Assistant Professor, University of Amsterdam
  20. Joke Hermes, lecturer, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
3,743 more
verified signatures
  1. Lara Riemens, Policy Officer, Groningen
  2. Frans Bergfeld, Alumini, Haarlem
  3. Dana, Student, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  4. Katarina Nesic, Student, University of Amsterdam
  5. Arjan vB, student, TU, Delft
  6. Clara Pereira, PhD student, UvA, Amsterdam
  7. Iza, Student, Amsterdam
  8. James Li, Student, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  9. S. Najand, PhD onderzoeker, Commoning UvA, Amsterdam
  10. Marieke Woensdregt, Assistant Professor, Radboud University (alumnus of UvA), Nijmegen
  11. REH Tel, Amsterdam
  12. Carlos Pinota, Media, Lisbon
  13. Madelyn Webb, Student, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  14. Nick Costa, Alumnus, University of Amsterdam, Arnhem
  15. Yvette Welsch, Yinchi bv, Rhenen
  16. Ben Stewart, RMA Student, University of Amsterdam
  17. Feras Mansour, Student, Uva, Amsterdam
  18. David, Student, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  19. Iris de Voogd, Graduate student, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  20. E. Amri, VOORBURG
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