In association with UU’s Executive Board, the board of UU’s Faculty of Humanities, where the man is a lecturer, decided that he was allowed to stay.

The lecturer’s Facebook post, which was a reference to Volkert van der Graaf, who assassinated right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002, proved highly controversial on social media and resulted in the lecturer receiving several death threats. UU’s news site DUBreported that Utrecht University, which immediately dissociated itself from the lecturer’s comment, received more than 450 written reactions. Some people called on the university to fire the lecturer, while others felt that the university should speak out against online vitriol.

'Not to be taken literally'

However, the university refused to summarily dismiss the lecturer, ‘because in our conversation, he convincingly explained that he did not mean for his comment to be taken literally’. The university also decided to be lenient because after the drama, the lecturer immediately apologised for his comment on his own Facebook page, which he then deactivated. In addition, the Public Prosecution Service has announced that it is unlikely to bring charges against the lecturer.

The lecturer, who was suspended, will not immediately return to the lecture theatres, a spokesperson for the university told DUB. “The lecturer is rather upset himself, so we’ll have to see when he will be able to resume his duties.”