Dutch tweets reacting on the Facebook post of the teacher. Photo: DUB

‘Volkert, where are you?’, UU teacher threatened after Facebook post

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A UU Humanities teacher has been threatened on social media. After the Provincial Council elections he posted on Facebook the words: ‘Volkert, where are you?’ The UU denounces the statement and has decided to place the employee on involuntary leave. 

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The message on Facebook refers to the man who killed right-wing leader Pim Fortuyn in 2002, Volkert van der G. On Thursday afternoon, the post led to a huge number of reactions, after internet medium The Post Online, among others, called attention to it. The teacher received a number of severe threats through social media. Some of them included death threats.

The teacher then decided to delete the post. He posted a new message in which he stated he hadn’t meant his post literally, and offered an apology. That post once again attracted hundreds of responses. The man has since decided to take his entire profile offline.

In the comments, a number of people called for the university to fire the man. Congressman Harm Beertema (PVV) pointed out the post to minister Van Engelshoven on Twitter.

The man was quickly linked to the UU. The university felt compelled to distance itself on Twitter from the ‘reprehensible comment’  of the teacher. On Friday morning, the UU posted a message on its website in which the university once again distances itself from the post. The teacher will soon be invited to a meeting with the faculty board of the Faculty of Humanities. In anticipation of this meeting he is placed on involuntary leave.

The UU’s Executive Board is studying whether the high number of complaints, from both within and outside the university, are cause for sanctions against the man. A spokesperson says dozens of people have expressed their discontent in email and phone messages.

On social media, several people have said to file charges against the man. A spokesperson for the police says they’re not allowed to say whether this has actually happened. Citizens have the option of filing charges in the case of controversial statements. The public prosecutor will then decide whether the statement has in fact crossed the line.                                         

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