Lecturer Laurens Buijs appealed to the whistleblowers regulation after having written an opinion piece for university magazine Folia in January. In the piece, he claimed that ‘non-binary’ and the ‘obsession with personal pronouns’ are an ’empty hype’. It caused a lot of controversy. Several UvA students called for Buijs to be banned from teaching. Buijs was later suspended, after he verbally abused several colleagues on social media.
The whistleblower accused the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (University of Amsterdam), where he was teaching at the time, of ‘severe institutional wrongdoings’ that posed an ‘imminent and fundamental threat to academic freedom and the quality of education and research’. He added that there is an ‘out-of-control woke culture’, in which scholars are in constant fear of being fired.
An independent committee led by Carel Stolker, former rector of Leiden University, investigated the allegations by Buijs and published a report last Thursday. It states that the 53 researchers, students, teachers, administrators and employees consulted by the committee feel sufficiently free.
The committee also investigated if Buijs’s own academic freedom was unacceptably and structurally infringed. “The committee did not find any evidence for this either”, the report reads.
Nonetheless, the committee does feel that the university needs to monitor academic freedom, as it’s coming under increasing pressure. The report contains a few recommendations to this end, for example warning the university to ‘stay away from woke versus anti-woke disputes’.