The audience’s dissatisfaction with the Board’s handling of the Palestine issue was clear from the start. From the moment rector Annelien Bredenoord, Executive Board president Ed Brinksma and vice-president Ellen van Schoten took their seats on the stage, they received critical questions and comments from attendees.

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Different from Ukraine

A Palestinian student asked why the university had responded differently to the war in Ukraine. The university quickly severed ties with Russia and arranged scholarships for Ukrainian students. He asked why Palestinian students had not received the same support from the university.

Brinksma replied that the two situations are not comparable. Cutting ties with Russia was a national policy, which allowed the university quickly to follow suit.


Another student said that Palestinian EUR students are finding it hard to keep up with their studies. She said that several students had asked for leniency from their study advisors, but were told that the study advisors could not do anything to help and the students should ‘just do their best’. She asked whether the university could guarantee that these students would not be expelled if they do not receive a positive BSA.

Bredenoord said that a procedure is already in place for these students. Since October last year, the university has had a number of schemes for BSAs and emergency funds. If study advisors are not aware of the schemes, students can contact the Board.

11edag_9juni2024_B3_einde protest palestina gaza campus plaza studenten politie ontruiming ME wegsturen_21_9.6.24_Daan Stam

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Protests and cameras

Last month’s solidarity protest was also discussed. A staff member found it ironic that the camp had to make way for Student Well-being Week and the HeartBeat festival. She also asked why the Board had sent the police to evict protesting students from the Plaza.

Vice-president Van Schoten responded that the university gave the protesting students space, but the students had to leave the Plaza at some point so the university could organise other important events on campus. She said that the Board had asked the students a couple of times to move to Park Noord, but the students did not respond.

A staff member then asked why the mobile cameras were still in the Plaza. President Brinksma said he understands that this is not ideal and people feel like they are being watched. However, the cameras are not just there for the protest, but also for campus security, because there have been many thefts lately. The cameras will remain on campus until mid-July.


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Sensitive Partnerships Committee

The Board took the opportunity to introduce Ruard Ganzevoort. He will head the Sensitive Partnerships Committee that will review the university’s international ties, including those with Israel.

Ganzevoort explained how the committee will work. The committee will analyse each partnership individually: what kind of partnership it is, what impact it has and whether it is compatible with our values. Based on the results of this analysis, the university can decide whether to continue with the partnership.

A staff member suggested that the university could actually decide to freeze all ties with Israel until the committee can prove that each partnership is positive. Another staff member asked how transparent the committee will be. She demanded that Ganzevoort make all committee members’ names public, so that the public can be certain that members do not have any conflicts of interest. Ganzevoort replied that the committee’s website will be online soon.

11edag_9juni2024_B2_protest palestina gaza campus plaza studenten politie ontruiming muur protestborden spreker megafoon8 achterkant_9.6.24_Daan Stam

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