EUR has decided that it will change the appearance of some of the Pieten accompanying St Nicholas at this year’s party for staff and their families at EUR. Besides the traditional brown coloured Pieten, the Executive Board has decided that “several trainee Pieten with soot smeared on their faces” will take part in the celebrations on the campus.
In a written statement, the Executive Board says that it has “listened to the social debate which has taken place in recent weeks and watched editions of the Sinterklaasjournaal”, which showed ‘trainee Pieten’ with just black smudges on their faces. These trainee Pieten were also present at the official arrival of St Nicholas and his entourage in Gouda.
At the end of October, EUR announced that it would not make any changes to the appearance of the Pieten and that it did not feel it was necessary to engage in the debate about the figure of Zwarte Piet. According to Pieter Kuijt, head of the Department of Marketing and Communications, the policy amendment not only responds to developments in the social debate but also to last week’s commotion among EUR staff. In a post on this website, some employees expressed their dissatisfaction with EUR’s decision not to become involved in the Zwarte Piet discussion.
The university does not exclude further adjustments in the future. “We will also take into consideration other manifestations which ensure that the St Nicholas celebrations are and continue to be enjoyed by everyone”, according to the Executive Board. EvR
Image: Sinterklaasjournaal (NTR)