More than 40 people attended the opening ceremony on Institutenlaan. Van Schoten kicked off the celebration with a short speech in which she also announced that students can now change their pronouns in Canvas. Semiha Denktaş from the Diversity & Inclusion Office then took the microphone: “Not only does this crossing look beautiful, it’s also a symbol of connection and acceptance in our community.”

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Students can now alter their pronouns in Canvas

Met de aanpassing wil de EUR graag een statement maken dat de universiteit inclusief is.


Initiator Marit de Ridder. Image credit: Feba Sukmana

Van Schoten and Denktaş then stretched a large golden ribbon across the middle of the crossing. Former student and initiator of the rainbow crossing project Marit de Ridder then cut the ribbon, an act that was met with cheers and applause. The crossing was officially open.

“I’m really proud that it’s finally here”, Ridder said afterwards. She came up with the idea a year and a half ago. “The board rejected it. They thought my idea was too vaguely formulated.” But De Ridder did not give up. To convince the university, she teamed up with several organisations, including Erasmus Pride. “I’m so happy that we’ve all accomplished this together.”

‘I’m so happy that we’ve all accomplished this together’

Marit de Ridder

Putting it into practice

Sociology student Elisa Weehuizen and MISOC student Auguste Ouedraogo attended as representatives of the association of African students, ASAH. They think the zebra crossing is a wonderful gesture. “But we still have a long way to go, of course”, says Ouedraogo. “I hope that the university can weave diversity and inclusion into its education. It would be great if lecturers and tutors were aware of students’ gender identity, for example.”

‘I hope that the university can weave diversity and inclusion into its education’

MISOC student Auguste Ouedraogo

Awkward Place

Business student Stephan van Roon and MISOC student Zofia Staszewska, both of Erasmus Pride, are also pleased with the rainbow crossing. “It’s a good first step towards more openness and acceptance”, Van Roon says.

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‘Being a wheelchair user at EUR was not that great already. So, they made it worse’

It’s ironic that the rainbow path, a symbol of inclusivity, is situated in a spot that…

Stephan van Roon-Zofia Staszewska-ErasmusPride
Zofia Staszewska and Stephan van Roon. Image credit: Feba Sukmana

Staszewska completely agrees with PhD student Kristel de Groot’s criticism that the location of the crossing was very poorly chosen. She also uses a wheelchair herself. “De Groot is absolutely right. As proud and happy as I am that the crossing is there, I think there are better places on campus to put one. It was already very slippery here, and now it’s even more slippery because of the rainbow paint. That makes it really hard to go up the hill”, says the president of Erasmus Pride. “Now I’m caught in a dilemma. It’s really important for representation, but at the same time, this crossing makes my life more difficult every single day.”

Van Schoten is aware of the problem. “I think it’s awful that people who use a wheelchair still can’t get around everywhere on our campus. We’re working very hard on this, though: new buildings are much more accessible for people in wheelchairs, for example.”