The University of Antwerp (UA) has suspended two employees who made “unacceptable statements” about Jews and Moroccans.
Earlier this month, footage of a conversation between a teaching assistant and an administrator after a botany class at UA was leaked on social media.
In the footage the staffers discussed the “poor Dutch” of students of Moroccan origin, and referred to Jews as “asocial,” unaware that they were being recorded.
UA Rector Herman Van Goethem immediately let it be known that he considered the statements “beneath contempt”. “If I could not control my emotions, I would burst into tears now,” he said on TV.
In response to the incidents, the university plans to increase its commitment to a “culture of mutual respect” through, among other things, mandatory training for employees and a code of conduct for staff and students.
“As rector, after consultation with the two staff members and nearby colleagues, I have decided to suspend them both with immediate effect. In consultation with Unia and the Hannah Arendt Institute, they will be involved in professional measures dedicated to rebuilding trust.
According to the rector, “the university is sincerely and positively committed to all students and staff members” and now wants to “move up a gear” in this direction.