The announcement appeared on the EUR website and is addressed to the entire EUR community. “We acted in consultation with the police because of an external security threat, but were unable to think through sufficiently what the impact on the EUR community would be. We regret that.”
The police action, which took place partly at the request of the university administration, caused great anger, not only among the activists themselves. A group of nearly five hundred EUR academics, and some from other universities, signed an open letter in recent days expressing their outrage at the eviction.
Under the headline ‘In defense of academic values’, they expressed solidarity with the expelled students. “We are deeply concerned about the eviction of our peacefully protesting students from the Sanders building […]. This constitutes a fundamental infringement of core academic values and freedom of debate and discussion on university grounds.”
Activists occupy Sanders building Erasmus University
Some forty people occupied the Sanders building on the Woudestein campus on Monday…
The academics therefore call on the Executive Board to ensure the safety of their students who were involved in the occupation, and the immediate initiation of a dialogue with the entire university community.
“Universities are supposed to be, and have been throughout history, safe havens for dissent and productive dialogue. University leaders are supposed to create a safe space for peaceful dialogue and critical voices in times of social change. Instead, our university administration is sending riot police to arrest peacefully protesting students without even engaging in dialogue”, the authors of the open letter said.
‘I was hoping the Executive Board would come and speak with the campaigners over a bowl of soup’
Several of the people there attested that the staff and students from OccupyEUR did not…
The Executive Board now states: “It is very important that, as a community, we have an open dialogue with everyone who feels involved in sustainability and other social issues, and hope that we can act together on this. We really want to make room for this and we will very soon organise several events to engage in the conversation. More information will follow soon.”
Earlier, the university administration invited a representation from OccupyEUR to start that dialogue on Thursday afternoon. OccupyEUR declined this invitation because they want an EUR-wide conversation and not a closed meeting. Furthermore, the students involved felt little interest in sitting down ‘with the people who sent the riot police to deal with them during a peaceful demonstration two days ago’.
In a reaction on Instagram, OccupyEUR let it be known that it finds the Executive Board’s expression of regret ‘too little too late’, and they demand the resignation of the board.