Student - June 12, 2020

EB wants dialogue on exclusion and discrimination at WUR

Luuk Zegers

The Executive Board wants a dialogue with employees and students on whether and how they experience exclusion and discrimination, and what can be done about it.

Screenshot from the petition. © Resource

A petition calling on WUR to take a stand against racism and to investigate discrimination within the organisation and educational programme was signed over 1200 times in less than a week. This is cause for WUR-president Louise Freso to announce a dialogue on discrimination. Spokesperson Simon Vink: ‘We wish to talk to employees and students on how they experience exclusion and discrimination. And to see how we can deal with this issue, based on these discussions. One thing should be absolutely clear: there is no room for discrimination within WUR.’  

The Executive Board wants a dialogue with representatives of different groups within WUR, Vink states. ‘Where and how do racism, exclusion and inappropriate behaviour occur within our organisation? How is this experienced? That is what we aim to discover.’ The dialogue is to be a broad, organisation-wide one, he says.  ‘So that it may contribute to asserting what steps we can take  to bring both incidental and systemic racism into the open, mitigate and prevent it.’

‘Never state the obvious’
While other organisations and companies reacted to George Floyd's death by taking a stand in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Wageningen remained silent. ‘Within our international, multicultural community, there is no room for exclusion in any way, shape or form’, Vink stresses. ‘Not based on ethnic origin, religion, culture, gender and so forth. However, never state the obvious applies. What is obvious need not be stated explicitly. After all, we also don’t issue a statement supporting constitutional law.’

Vink underlines that WUR is already doing a lot, although this may not always be visible. ‘We have counsellors, student deans, codes of integrity, codes of conduct, diversity days, the One World Week, a committee for inappropriate behaviour. However, the issue is currently not whether we are doing the right thing, but that there are apparently quite a few people who feel discriminated or excluded. The “serious discrimination” such as the abhorrent behaviour towards our Chinese students at the Bornsesteeg are obvious. Still, at the end of the day, it’s about creating a culture of inclusiveness. This is something we need to be able to address when we feel it is required.’

Also read:

Re:actions 1

  • Kevin

    Sorry, I know this came out a week ago, but I still fail to follow this logic:

    "However, never state the obvious applies. What is obvious need not be stated explicitly."


    A generation ago, AIDS activists rejected this idea: Silence = Death

    Two generations ago, MLK rejected this idea on multiple occasions:

    "There comes a time when silence is betrayal."

    "The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people."

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

    "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

    But don't state the obvious. In this case, what is the harm in doing so?


resource_wageningenur_nl_forum_reactions_wrapper for object 43 of type wm_language nl_gx_webmanager_cms_core_implementation_languageimpl 3

  • Campus verboden

    Bijzonder. Wel mooie woorden, maar WUR weigert de Wageningse black lives matter manifestatie op de campus te laten houden. Wat zegt dat over de ware intenties...?

    • Lezer

      Dat de WUR haar COVID beleid voor iedereen gelijk is. Geen bijeenkomsten & evenementen op de campus geldt voor iedereen, dus ook voor BLM. Zou eerder vragen moeten oproepen als dit als enige wel door mocht gaan.

    • Gaan we weer

      Organisatie van de demonstratie was lovend over ondersteuning van de WUR.

      Heerlijk, al die twittermeningen....