UAntwerp shares list of collaborations with Israeli universities

At students' request, the University of Antwerp has published a list of all its collaborations with Israeli universities and organisations. Rector Herman Van Goethem said he wanted to communicate "openly and transparently".

As in other Belgian universities, a number of students have occupied part of the university campus in Antwerp since Monday. Among other things, they are calling for an academic boycott of Israel.

On Tuesday, the university held a board meeting in which it decided that it did not need to take a position on the conflict. Instead, it wants to act as an "agora where opinions can reverberate and clash, so that everyone can determine their own stance".

Claimed as a victory

Peace organisations and students claimed the list's publication as a victory. "We were actually promised this list last year," said a student spokesperson. "Finally, the rector promised us in writing this week to deliver the list within 48 hours."

Van Goethem noted that everyone can express their own views in lectures and debates, within academic standards. "Students and staff can express their indignation, as is now the case in universities around the world, always in a peaceful way," he said.

"We want to keep the lines of communication open with local researchers"

In Antwerp, the university's Ethics Committee on Misuse, Human Rights and Security examines the risk of university projects contributing to human rights violations.

"Of course we look at cooperation in conflict areas with particular care," said Van Goethem. "But at the same time, we want to keep the lines of communication open with local researchers, who are often the internal mouthpieces for defending democracy and human rights in their countries."

It is now up to the students to examine the list of collaborations. They are likely to repeat their call for an academic boycott and an official call for a ceasefire. For now, the occupation of the university will continue, albeit peacefully and in consultation with the university itself.


#FlandersNewsService | © PHOTO BELPRESS

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