It was only this week that the Executive Board found out about the proceedings over the past two years concerning the rainbow crossing, prompted by its reading of an article published by Cursor about the decision not to construct such a crossing on the campus. “We talked about it that same day, and we scheduled to discuss the issue further during Thursday morning’s meeting,” vice-president Nicolle Ummelen says.
It didn’t take long for the members of the Executive Board to come up with a solution, she says, and they contacted Compass that very day to discuss an alternative. The board decided that everywhere on the campus grounds where the characteristic yellow picnic tables are currently located, three such tables will be painted in the colors of the rainbow. Ummelen: “Those tables will be given a prominent spot, and the Executive Board will bear the costs if necessary. In addition, the rainbow flag next to the pond will remain hoisted until after MomenTUm. This way, we want to stress how important diversity and social safety are to us.”
Ummelen says that the committees charged over the past period with determining whether or not to agree on the construction of a rainbow crossing, certainly had their reasons to reject the initiative. “But I’m also sure that no one on those committees opposes diversity, but that their decision was prompted by reasons of a more practical nature.”
The vice-president says that she is glad to see that so many people responded to Cursor’s article. A petition was immediately drafted by students from Groep-één, for example, with the support of many organizations within TU/e, and the number of signatures was at more than 1,500 this morning. In addition, two Eindhoven municipal council members spoke out in favor of the rainbow crossing and said that they were willing to come to the campus on Monday and draw such a crossing with chalk if need be.
Ummelen: “This is a clear sign to us that diversity and the need for a socially safe environment are important issues at TU/e, and that they have the wide support of our students and staff members.”
Ummelen says that Compass is very pleased with the Executive Board’s offer. This is confirmed by Ludo van Meeuwen, treasurer at Compass: “A very heartwarming signal from the Executive Board. It’s a good thing that we will have something permanent on our campus that draws attention to diversity. I consider it a good opportunity to discuss this topic. And it’s great to see that the response from the community urging the university to take action was so significant these last few days,” Van Meeuwen says. He has already been in contact with Real Estate at this point concerning the tables. Last year, Van Meeuwen painted one of the tables in the colors of the rainbow on his own initiative to celebrate the first Diversity Week. “This time, I’ll leave it up to the professionals,” he says laughing.