Quiet spaces can be established in the generally accessible areas of the UvA. It is essential that the quiet spaces have a neutral character, and they may not be 'claimed' by specific groups of users.
Recently, ASVA student union, the Central Student Council (CSR) and the Faculty Student Councils submitted requests for quiet spaces to be allowed.
In a written response, Dymph van den Boom, acting president and rector magnificus, confirmed that, following internal consultations, quiet spaces can be permitted in the generally accessible areas of the UvA's buildings. 'A space that is accessible to all students and staff without a prior reservation, where an individual can withdraw from the hustle and bustle around them for a short while to concentrate.’
The quiet spaces must have a neutral character. ‘The UvA offers all students and staff the scope to develop, with respect and tolerance for everyone's beliefs. It therefore follows that spaces at the UvA, including the quiet spaces, may not in any way be claimed or appropriated by supporters of one specific political, religious or personal belief system through decorations, inscriptions, furnishings or their behaviour.' The letter to the ASVA student union and CSR goes on to say that no discrimination will be tolerated by or between users, on whatever grounds.
House rules will be drawn up to safeguard the neutral character of the quiet spaces. The CSR has since produced a draft version of these house rules. Supervision of the quiet spaces is the responsibility of the building manager.
Van den Boom: 'For us, it remains a matter of the utmost importance that all UvA staff and students feel at home at the University. There must be respect and tolerance for each other's beliefs. And I believe these quiet spaces can help foster that.'