Two branches of Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) removed university magazine Folia from their magazine racks on an Open Day held last weekend, because its cover featured a pair of bare breasts. EM polled students on the issue with the bare breasts on the cover and on HvA’s decision to remove the issue. Was the school right to remove Folia from its racks on its Open Day?

‘They’re just breasts’ is what it says on the cover of the magazine. The most recent issue of Folia features the feminist action group Feminist Committee (FemCom), which is comprised of students of the University of Amsterdam and seeks to bring about a discussion on the bare breast taboo. A great fuss was made when it was reported that the issue had been removed from view on an Open Day due to its sensational cover. Ietje Veldman, the Chairwoman of the Faculty of Education and Upbringing, explained the decision as follows: “I fear that visitors to the Open Day will be put off by the cover, which does not reflect who we are.”

Guy Corsten, 18, International Business Administration student


“A university magazine should not be like Playboy, but bare breasts on a cover should be OK in 2016. As long as the image of breasts adds to the message contained in the story, schools should not ban it. In addition, I think it’s an act of hypocrisy to remove the issue from the magazine racks on the school’s Open Day only. A school’s governors should always support the choices made by the magazine’s editors, even when they don’t like them. I get the impression the HvA administrators were more concerned about ‘the breasts’ than the students. Could this be a generation gap thing?”


Susan Vermeulen, 20, Economics and Business Economics student

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“I don’t understand why Folia was removed from view. The cover isn’t offensive. Kids get to see much more shocking images on the Internet. In addition, I feel it comes under the heading of freedom of speech, both on the part of the interviewees and on the part of the people creating the magazine. I’m sure there are people who dislike the cover on account of their life principles. I get that, but I don’t think those sentiments should outweigh the magazine makers’ freedom of speech. If the school wanted to convey the values of our society to the students, it should have left Folia in the racks, in the Faculty of Education and Upbringing of all places.”

Ismail Ekiz, 19, Econometrics student


“I think they made the right decision. Open Days are an opportunity to receive guests, so the place must look presentable. What does surprise me is that it’s such a big deal. It’s a magazine cover, not an enormous poster stuck to the school’s façade. Secondary school pupils are sufficiently grown up to be able to bear the sight of breasts on paper. I read in the media that religious beliefs were one reason to remove the magazine. I don’t think this has anything to do with religion, but rather with the way in which people are raised.”

Shirley Kramer, 23, Management Master’s student from Argentina


“What a terrible decision by the school to remove Folia from view. You see, I think the cover is awesome. I think it would actually have been good for HvA’s image if the school’s directors had allowed the magazine to remain where it was. If any prospective students had decided not to study at HvA because of a pair of bare breasts, they clearly hadn’t done their homework. In Argentina this would have resulted in a massive outcry. Our culture is a lot more conservative and more ‘macho’. I’m not surprised a magazine with a shocking cover was removed from view in the Netherlands, but I am a little disappointed.”