Photo: Utrecht University

UU flags at half-mast for free and safe education


Today, November 2, French schools commemorate teacher Samuel Paty, murdered in October for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a class about free speech. The flags on the buildings of Utrecht University are flown at half-mast in memory of Paty and to stress the importance of a free and safe learning environment.

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Commenting on the decision to fly its flags at half-mast, UU states on its website that the university stands for constitutional freedom of expression. “All teachers -- worldwide -- must be able to give their lessons without fear or external pressure”, writes the Board. “Good education teaches people to engage in dialogue, even on difficult subjects. This requires a safe learning environment in which everyone is welcome, and room to respectfully explore differences together.”

The UU is also responding to a call from Ingrid van Engelshoven (Minister of Education, Culture and Science) and Arie Slob (Minister for Primary and Secondary Education and Media). The ministers called on Dutch educational institutions to discuss the attack and speak out in favour of freedom of expression.

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