Vanochtend in de faculteit Archeologie van de Leidse Universiteit: een bannerdrop door de Archaeology Students in Solidarity for Palestine. Op de eerste dag van het nieuwe academische jaar wilden ze de studenten wijzen op de genocide én de schaal van de verwoesting in Palestina. Hieronder hun statement.
On Monday 5th of February 2024, a Palestinian flag was hung up in the Van Steenis building, Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University. The flag was put up at 11am by a small group of students, and flyers with information about Gaza and Israel were distributed around the main halls, in order to put educational material and information out publicly for other students to look through and learn from. No sit-in or protest of any form was planned to take place.
At 11.30am, the front-desk assistants arrived at the flag and quickly said that “nothing political is allowed to take place in the building” and that the distribution of flyers and flags wasn’t allowed either. They pushed the students into removing the flag immediately, otherwise they would remove it themselves. After this in a discussion between these members of staff and some students, the staff members claimed that “university is not a space for discussions”. When the students complied and brought the flag outside the building, one of them was questioned by security and a picture was taken of his LU-card.
Leiden University misused their own rules, which are as follows: “in the case of an occupation or protest meeting for which no room booking has been made, the relevant Director of Operations (possibly in consultation with the Dean) will assess the situation as soon as it becomes known. This will include considering (if this is still appropriate) whether security will be called in and in what manner. ” The building manager had more than enough time, space and safety to consult this with the dean first, however they took it into their own hands to remove the students and the items quickly without such consultation. This rule also would not apply as this was neither a protest or an occupation.
Additionally, Leiden University’s “Academic Freedom” statement (available on their website) states the following: “At the heart of academic freedom is the liberty to discuss and investigate anything and everything of scientific merit without external interferences – from e.g. political or economic forces – into the process of teaching and learning and research, that forms the core of what the university is. Free academic debate and exchange of arguments are essential for a healthy academic community.” As well as: “In order to make this open exchange of ideas possible, we need to respect basic Academic Standards and maintain the open atmosphere in which this takes”. It is clear from this that Leiden University no longer adheres to it’s own rules and statements.