Wednesday last week, the Eurekaweek board circulated a vacancy among EUR students, calling on students to apply for a position on the board of Eurekaweek 2021. Emblazoned along the top of the Dutch-language email was ‘DUTCH STUDENTS ONLY’ – to the consternation of a number of international students. They found the header inappropriate; some even called it discriminatory.
Chief Diversity Officer Semiha Denktaş was also critical of the circulated text. It was ‘not in the Eurekaweek spirit’ and was not grounded in EUR policy, said Denktaş when EM asked her opinion of the vacancy. “Within EUR, language proficiency should not be included in the selection criteria – except where it is relevant to the position. But EUR has never based a call for applications on aspects like one’s country of origin or citizenship,” she noted.
Unfortunate choice of words
The chair of the Eurekaweek board Sander Doude van Troostwijk stresses that the header was in no way intended as discriminatory. “We chose this line for practical reasons. I agree that our choice of words was unfortunate, but what we meant by it is that we’re looking for Dutch-speaking students,” he explains. According to Doude van Troostwijk, it is important that applicants speak Dutch because ‘the board will be working in an environment where the language of communication is Dutch’.
In response to the criticism, the board apologised on Friday via their social media channels for the ‘unfortunate choice of words’ and announced that international students who don’t speak Dutch are also welcome to apply. To give international students ample opportunity to do so, the board has extended the term to Monday.