Screenshot from Facebook page INSAN

Once again, questions are being asked in Parliament about ‘diverse’ UU


Are there UU events in which men and women have to be seated separately? Three VVD congresspeople are asking for clarification from minister Van Engelshoven. Cause is a photo accompanying a Facebook post by student association INSAN.

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The photo was taken at a meeting of Utrecht-based ‘multicultural’ student association INSAN in the Ruppert building in De Uithof. All male visitors of the lecture are seated in front, all female visitors in the back. For blogger Carel Brendel, the association’s Facebook post was reason to tweet this:

Translation: ‘Sexual apartheid in classroom of Utrecht University’s Marinus Ruppert building during a lecture by American Muslim brother Altaf Husain for student association INSAN.’

The UU responded on Twitter by explaining that INSAN has said there’s no forced gender separation. The students had seated themselves his way, the association says. The university will discuss the matter further with INSAN.

VVD congresspeople Tielen, Becker, and Yesilgöz-Zegerius aren’t satisfied with the answer, and have sent in written questions.

The three wonder how earlier answers from minister Van Engelshoven on questions about a UU diversity plan correspond to these new Twitter messages. This past Wednesday, the minister said she doesn’t see anything wrong with the UU’s goal to diversify its student population.

The questions the three VVD congresspeople asked also focus on the UU regulations for renting out university rooms – as they don’t mention anything about what is or is not allowed in terms of activities in these rooms. Other universities are said to have stipulations in their rules on renting out university space.

A UU spokesperson says there is a rule that says UU buildings cannot be used for religious activities. Students and employees also have to adhere to the university’s Code of Conduct. The code states students and employees have to interact with respect. A forced separation of men and women wouldn’t comply with the code of conduct, the university says.


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