Statement Executive Board after reports and graffiti on buildings with allegations about approach of addressing sexual violence in student life
Sexual violence still occurs regularly, also among students in the Netherlands. Within Maastricht University, students and staff, together with external organizations, are working hard to address sexual violence. This is work in progress: the preventive and supportive work, such as training courses, awareness-raising, and the support of psychologists and confidential counsellors, will be continued without any restrictions.
At the same time, it is very disappointing for the people who are working hard to make the UM community safer if their work is not always recognized or acknowledged. Especially when this is done on the basis of inaccuracies and unjustified suspicions against people from our UM community. Unfortunately, we were confronted with this last weekend via social media and through vandalism to our buildings and elsewhere in the city.
Nobody benefits from these actions, especially not those who should always be first concerned: the victims. They can count on our support, even when it comes to intimidation, violence or unsafety outside the UM walls, in the private sphere. Although the university's options are limited and we cannot take over the tasks and powers of the police and judiciary, we try to do everything in our power to give victims the support they need, so that they feel heard at UM.
We are happy to keep the conversation open with anyone who is willing and able to help make student life safer. We do want to conduct that conversation on the basis of respect, in an atmosphere of openness and reasonableness. Meanwhile, it goes without saying: UM abhors any form of sexual violence or other forms of transgressive behaviour or unequal treatment and calls on victims and bystanders to report it.