The establishment of a committee to review partnerships had already been announced. The Executive Board also previously shared known relationships with Israeli institutions. The plan to organise dialogue tables about the conflict is new, as is the intention of the university to explore ways to help rebuild the academic community in Gaza.

‘Very much not our preferred course of action’

On Thursday, at the ‘urgent request’ of the mayor, police and Public Prosecution Service, the Executive Board closed the campus, causing the announced Palestine protest to move to Rotterdam Central station. “This was very much not our preferred course of action”, the Executive Board wrote about this decision. “However, the safety of students, staff and demonstrators could not be guaranteed.”

The Executive Board emphasised that there remains room for critical debate, even on topics that are ‘polarising’, and that it wants to continue the conversation with the demonstrators, but that it will not ‘be held hostage’ by parties who ‘don’t want a conversation, [but] want revolution’, as stated in a message on the Instagram account @rdamstudentenvoorpalestina.

‘Strengthening solidarity’

With the dialogue tables, which are to be organised through the IDEA Center and possibly Studium Generale and the Living Room, the Executive Board aims to ‘strengthen solidarity and understanding within the EUR community’. The committee that will review EUR’s partnerships will use criteria such as ‘human rights, knowledge security and the core values of EUR’. Once established, the committee will first assess partners involved in the situation in Gaza and Israel. It is still unclear when the committee will start its work.

According to the Executive Board, the possibilities for the university to make a specific contribution to rebuilding the ‘academic structure’ in Gaza are ‘limited’. Nonetheless, it is eager to explore and discuss with the EUR community ‘how we, together with other universities and the international academic community, can help students, scholars and institutions in Gaza, both in Gaza and the West Bank, and through the exchange of students as well as staff.’

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