Letter to Leiden University Regarding Cancellation of Event

On 6 July, the BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom wrote to Professor Hester Bijl, Rector Magnificus of Leiden University, to express our serious and urgent concern regarding the cancellation of the event ‘Apartheid in Palestine, Namibia, and South Africa - Ending Apartheid: Learning from the past and present’, organised by Students for Palestine (SfP), African Students Association (ASA) and the BASIS Africa Committee and scheduled to take place on June 12 at Leiden University.

We call upon the university to inform the event organisers in writing of their justification for the additional requirements, including an explanation for why this specific event was deemed to be of a ‘sensitive nature’.

We call upon the university to offer an apology to the organisers and the speakers for the inconvenience caused, and for the university to facilitate the hosting of this important discussion, under the same processes and conditions as any other event that would take place at Leiden University.

Further, we call upon the university to affirm their commitment to academic freedom, including a guarantee that students will be supported in organising events such as this in the future.