According to the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism, there is a ‘substantial’ risk of terrorist attacks in the Netherlands at present, which is the second-highest threat level. Due to the recent Paris attacks, security services have been on high alert. Among other things, this has resulted in the arrest of the persons sitting inside a white Mercedes-Benz which was parked in the streets of Rotterdam, and in the evacuation of a synagogue in North Rotterdam. EM polled students on their sense of security. Should we have heavier security on campus following the recent Paris attacks?
Tadek Badura, 23, Dutch History student
“I really do believe campus security needs to change. A few weeks ago a refugee begging for money grabbed me by my coat while I was on my way to a lecture. That’s when I realised security leaves a lot to be desired at the university. Having a refugee haunting your corridors is odd, but it’s harmless as things go. I’d like the university to restrict access to its buildings, allowing only people carrying student cards to enter, because next time the intruder might be a man carrying a Kalashnikov rather than a refugee, in which case I’ll be on the floor bleeding before I’ll get a chance to alert Security.”
Lara Prins, 23, Dutch-German Health, Economics, Policy and Law master student
“Attacks can take place anywhere, anytime. No matter how heavy the security, if someone wishes to carry out an attack, it will be hard to stop him. I understand that people are scared now that we’ve had these attacks in Paris and the bomb threats at major sporting events, but we shouldn’t panic. If you visit a mass event in the USA, you will be searched from head to toe and have your bags checked. If we were to get a high-security campus with similar measures implemented, my freedom would be compromised, which flies in the face of everything I believe in.”
Nikita Reshetnikov, 19, Russian IBA student
“It’s strange to me that anyone can enter these buildings, but erecting a huge fence around the campus would be ridiculous. We don’t need heavy security here, and it would only make us feel less safe. I do think, though, that the university should provide its students with more information on how and where to report suspicious items and how to evacuate the premises in the event of an attack. Ever since the Paris attacks, I’ve felt that terror is hitting much closer to home. I’ve been told that Rotterdam is on a list of future attack targets, but I think that’s no more than a rumour spread by scared people.”
According to an EUR spokesperson, the university is in close contact with the authorities regarding the security of its campus. “We are always on alert, not just after attacks like the Paris ones. We’d like to ask our students and staff to report anything that strikes them as being out of the ordinary to Security. If the need arises, the university will take appropriate measures, in consultation with the relevant authorities. Needless to say, we will not go into detail on the nature of those measures,” said the spokesperson.