The social university

4 September 2019

Opening speech Opening Academic Year 2019-2020

The purpose of the opening of the academic year is to project optimism and discussing the way ahead. This is more  difficult this year as we have experienced or expecting some dramatic changes to the higher education landscape in the Netherlands. First of all, the recent decision to shift existing budgets towards technical universities at the expense of others  is a threat to the balance of subjects that form the core if the university - universitas - comprehensiveness. It is understandable that students and staff alike, the core members of the academic community, are worried about this and today, at this hour, more than 1000 of them are attending an alternative opening of the academic year in Leiden to express their concern. Let it be clear, they have our full support - we share their worries and must work together to find a solution against one-sided budged shifts that damage universities and their basic philosophy. And let us also be clear, that we will do everything in our power to maintain a healthy and fair balance between all disciplines at our university.