Update 17 January 15:15
On 17 January, all UvA staff members and students received an extra newsletter on the climate action. You can read this newsletter here.
This was the last update on the climate action.
The police evacuated UvA building BG4 tonight. The decision was taken because the activists did not respond to the request to leave the building voluntarily. The Executive Board has no doubts about the students’ good intentions and emphasises that they would like to continue constructive discussions with them.
President of the Executive Board Geert ten Dam and Vice-President Jan Lintsen had a good but also critical discussion this afternoon with a representative of the climate activists. At the end of the discussion, they asked them to leave BG4 (formerly the Academic Club) voluntarily.
Jan Lintsen: 'During the meeting, we shared our concerns about climate developments. We agreed that it is a matter that deserves close attention. We therefore indicated that we want to hold a UvA-wide debate around collaboration with third parties, and Shell in particular.’
Geert ten Dam: 'We maintain that protesting and demonstrating is allowed, but occupying is not.’ The activists could not promise to leave. Ten Dam: ‘We understand that too. But we have also said we will report it to the police. That means that the police may evacuate.’ Ten Dam emphasised: 'We will continue to discuss this important subject with students and staff and those in our environment, and therefore also this group of activists'.
Video summary in English
Geert ten Dam: 'We had a very good but also critical conversation, both sides were open. At the end we asked them to leave the Academic Club because they can't stay there. And the policy of the UvA is: no occupations. They couldn't promise that by the close of our the conversation. We understand that too. We have filed a report which means the police may clear the building. However it ends, we will continue discussions with the activists.'
At 15:00, representative(s) of the Executive Board will talk to representative(s) of the activists.
The UvA's Executive Board shares their concerns about the climate and understands the group's motives for drawing attention to this. Jan Lintsen, Vice-President of the Executive Board, said: 'Peaceful protest to draw attention to concerns about the environment are understandable. I worry about it myself. And protesting and demonstrating are allowed, even within the walls of the University, but occupying buildings is never allowed. We will talk to the activists as soon as possible.’
The UvA does not promote the use of fossil fuels and does not conduct research into fossil fuels. In a letter in response to a petition, an extensive explanation was given about collaboration with other universities and partners on ways to accelerate the transition to other sources of energy. Collaboration with external parties is always on our terms and academic freedom, independence and integrity must never be compromised. Read the letter here.
Geert ten Dam, President of the Executive Board: 'As a public institution, we have to set the example, which is why we have been working for years on making our operational management and buildings more sustainable. We also want to contribute through our research to an accelerated energy transition. This also determines our standards framework in which we measure each (new) collaboration against a strict yardstick: does this contribute to a sustainable future?’