The activists occupied the Groningen Academy Building on Tuesday because they disagree with the dismissal of lecturer and whistleblower Susanne Täuber. She had criticised the diversity policy and social safety at the University of Groningen (RUG). The university considers that the working relationship has been impaired and is terminating her contract.
In the evening, the building was cleared by the police. There are videos showing a student being pulled by his legs down a staircase. An assistant professor told newspaper Dagblad van het Noorden that she had been hit, even though she was not taking part in the occupation.
Students are shocked by the violence. Speaking to local broadcaster OOG, action group Student RUG calls it “a totally avoidable escalation” and is therefore demanding the resignation of the board.
The Dutch Student Union (LSVb) also condemns the footage of the evacuation and talks in Algemeen Dagblad about people being ‘dragged away by force’. Chair Joram van Velzen is shocked: “This is inappropriate for a university that claims to promote dialogue and democracy”.
According to the Groningen Student Union, it is time for the university to do all it can to make everyone feel safe. The union said it ‘supports’ the protesters.
But the university claims that the police started the evacuation after the students were “asked several times” to leave the building. In fact, the protesters and the board were supposed to hold talks, but that came to nothing and the day “ended on a sour note, unfortunately”, according to the university.
A previous occupation took place in March, after which it was agreed that talks would be held. That is still the intention, the board says. “Our door is always open.”
A police spokesman told Dagblad van het Noorden that no arrests had been made. “In our view, it all went peacefully.”