VU Amsterdam to investigate discrimination and its own 'hidden inequality'

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2017Steven LekWikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) is set to kick off an investigation into "hidden inequality" in its institution and coursework, the university has announced. In a statement published on its website on Friday, VU Amsterdam voiced strong support with the Black Lives Matter movement, noting that its Diversity Office intends to pursue a number of steps in order to rectify uncovered injustice.

"We acknowledge the anger and sadness in our world, city, and university. We are committed to the struggle for a just world, to the efforts to correct past and present injustices," the statement read, signed off by a list of high-profile university figures including President of the Executive Board Mirjam van Praag.

Chief among its proposed steps, VU Amsterdam intends to open an investigation into inequality within its own structures, according to the university's statement. "We will look at how we can break through the inequality of academic career opportunities so that our workforce becomes a better reflection of our multicultural student population," said VU Amsterdam.

The university also said that it seeks to "look even more critically" at its own curricula in order to "fight against the inequalities that often still remain", adding that it intends to expand projects relating to slavery, discrimination, racism, and apartheid.

VU Amsterdam's statement follow weeks of protest across the globe following the death of George Floyd in the United States. The university's proposed investigation is the first such action to be taken by a university in the Netherlands, with a similar statement put out by Leiden University's Van Vollenhoven Institute on Thursday which stopped short of initiating inquest.