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Board members higher education media boycott conference with Laurens Buijs

Because UvA scholar and anti-woke activist Laurens Buijs was invited to a conference for…

At the conference of the Kring on 13 April, Buijs was set to debate Hanzehogeschool diversity officer Charlotte Wekker and Sahar Meradji, creator of the PowNed series Ik woke van jou (‘I woke you too’). According to Rob Siebelink, editor-in-chief of the University of Groningen’s Ukrant, Buijs was cancelled after Wekker withdrew. The latter declined to take part under such ‘feverish circumstances’, referring to the boycotting of the conference by several editors-in-chief last week.


This put the organisers in an impossible position, Siebelink says. “We wanted to have a balanced debate, and we couldn’t find a replacement for someone of Wekker’s stature at such short notice.” The organisers now plan an alternative debate that will focus mainly on the situation that has arisen. “Sahar Meradji will remain on the panel. She told us the topic was too important for her to withdraw. The rest of the panel will be made up by Chris Wind (editor-in-chief of HanzeMag – ed.), Kring president Ries Agterberg and myself.”

When news of Buijs’ invitation to the conference broke last week, three of the four Kring board members responded by saying they would no longer attend. Saskia Bonger, editor-in-chief of the Delft University of Technology magazine Delta, resigned from the board in protest against the compromise the Kring had reached with the media organisers in Groningen.

‘Empty hype’

Buijs, a social scientist, has acquired a reputation lately as an ardent critic of ‘woke’ and related matters. Among other things, he liked a tweet of an image depicting a swastika made of progress flags and wrote an opinion piece for the UvA magazine Folia in which he referred to the use of non-binary pronouns as an ‘empty hype’ and called ‘woke culture’ a threat to academic freedom.

The Kring van Hoofdredacteuren is the umbrella organisation for 22 independent Dutch higher education media organisations, including Erasmus Magazine.

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