News and events Tilburg University

Response of the Executive Board to the Open Letter for an Anti-Racist University

Published: 18th June 2020 Last updated: 24th February 2021

"The Executive Board has taken note of the letter from a group of students following the global anti-racism demonstrations. We understand the legitimate concerns that exist and highly appreciate the commitment of our students.

Tilburg University's motto is Understanding Society. This means not only that we, as staff, students, employees and administrators of the university, want to understand society but also that we actively want to make a positive contribution to it. This is all the more important after the protests following the violent death of George Floyd and the worldwide pandemic.

Our university rejects all forms of racism and discrimination and stands for diversity and inclusion. Our Code of Conduct clearly states that we work together on the basis of respect for everyone. Our policy has been based on this principle for many years. Certainly, we are not there yet. That is why we are constantly tightening up our measures.

Examples of our policies include: a range of training courses on cross-cultural competences & intercultural communication for Human Resources staff and scientific teams; our diversity policy, which is specifically aimed at recruiting more women for academic positions; making it possible to discuss discrimination in committees of each Division; the availability of the Active Bystander training addressing unacceptable behavior; a wide variety of study and student associations; and our membership of organizations such as Workplace Pride for improving LGBTI rights.

This list is not exhaustive, but for illustration purposes, more examples can be found on our site. Employees and students who in any way suffer nuisance from discrimination can turn to a Complaints Committee.

The Executive Board is committed to a diverse and inclusive university community and sees that our lecturers and students emphatically do the same in their education and research. We very much applaud this. See, for example, the essay by Prof. Kutlay Yagmur and the long interview with Prof. Jan Blommaert on the homepage.

We understand that colleagues and students at our university can feel powerless, sad, angry, and unseen. Together, we work to create a safe environment without racism."

President of the Board Koen Becking, on behalf of the Executive Board