Student Vatan Hüzeir (27) is gravely concerned about the negative impact the Erasmus University has on the environment. In an open letter he calls onto the Executive Board to severe their ties with the fossil energy industry.

Hüzeir is a student in the Research Master Sociology of Culture, Media, and the Arts, and investigates the public reception and problematization of the most recent repot of the International Panel on Climate Change. “My research shows how much the industry for fossil fuels tries to influence the public opinion regarding the climate problem. This happens through lobbying organizations, the financing of libertarian think tanks, but also by funding scientists to perform biased research in which the anthropogenic factor in global warming is denied completely.”

Public mission

Hüzeir was inspired recently by a lecture by Craig Calhoun. Calhoun, director of the London School of Economics, received an Honorary Doctorate at the Dies celebration on November 8th, and held a lecture in which he, among other things, talked about the public mission of the university. “According to Calhoun, that mission can be undermined because the private sector plays an increasingly large role within universities”, says Hüzeir.

Thinking sustainability

“It is a good thing that a lot is done in the area of sustainability”, says Hüzeir. “But as an employee said to me recently: there is mostly a claiming of sustainability, but the question remains to what extent it is thought as well.”

According to Hüzeir, environmentally friendly efforts are nullified by the commitment to companies who exploit coal, oil, and gas resources. In this regard he mentions as example the co-operation between RSM and Shell, but also the financial interests which pension fund ABP has in various oil companies.


The letter is signed by thirty EUR employees, who, through their expertise, are involved in the subject. With the facebook page EURfossilfree, Hüzeir hopes to receive more support. In an initial response, the Executive Boards says that it encourages students who actively think about increasing the sustainability of the EUR and it will study the letter with much interest. TF