In response to the activists’ request, the administration is going to give insight into what the university is doing in the field of sustainability and what its relationships are with organisations in the fossil industry. “What is certain is that Erasmus University does not invest in the fossil industry”, the statement reads. The board hopes to share initial insights in January.

In the short term, the board invites the academic community to discuss the issue in a ‘broad dialogue’. “We want to be visible and approachable.”

Next week, the board will join an already planned roundtable discussion on Erasmian values and sustainability. Furthermore, the board has asked Studium Generale to organise meetings in the short term. Students suffering mentally from the consequences of the events can get psychological help, the Board writes. This applies to OccupyEUR members as well as bystanders.

'Most reliable of all sources'

Last week, the board already expressed regret for the police deployment. Ed Brinksma, chair of the Executive Board, reiterated on Thursday that he had acted after discussing some scenarios, coming from ‘the most reliable of all sources, the police’. The police told Brinksma ‘that groups from outside the university would join the action’. Thereupon, the board decided to end the occupation of Sanders. According to the university, the police were deployed only after a small group of activists refused to leave, ‘after repeated requests’. The board will evaluate the whole incident with the police and will come back to it later.

The police action caused a wave of outrage among students and academics who expressed this in an open letter. This was followed by the board’s expression of regret last Thursday.

Psychological help

Brinksma says the events took a while to sink in. “With severe stomach ache as a result. We want to be tolerant, facilitate debate, and this is not the way we want to deal with each other. This escalation was completely unforeseen for us. This is not dialogue, and if that is what we want then this is not the way.”

In the statement, the board stressed that they do not hold the participating students responsible for anything. It wants to accommodate people who were harmed by the events in any way. Furthermore, the university is offering psychological help to affected students who ‘who have experienced distress and are in need of it’. ” Above all, campus is a place where students should feel safe. Last week’s events did not contribute to that feeling.”


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