Flags at UU at half-mast for free and safe education

Monday November 2, French schools commemorate the murder of Samuel Paty. The flags on the buildings of Utrecht University are flown at half-mast that day.

The murder of the French teacher Samuel Paty is an atrocious act and an attack on our society, in which freedom of expression is one of the most important core democratic values.

Utrecht University stands for constitutional freedom of expression. All teachers - worldwide - must be able to give their lessons without fear or external pressure. 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.

Following the events in France, the Dutch education ministers Ingrid van Engelshoven and Arie Slob called on educational institutions in our country to discuss the attack and to speak out in favour of freedom of expression. We wholeheartedly respond to that call.

Previously, UU researchers Beatrice de Graaf, Nikki Sterkenburg, Mariëtte de Haan and Björn Wansink published a educational letter to help teachers discuss this terrorist act in the classroom (in Dutch).