New footage of A'dam student association party as criticism mounts
New video footage surfaced on Tuesday evening of the Amsterdam student association ASC/AVSV’s lustrum party on Sunday. The video, published by Het Parool, shows two men pushing their faces against or between the buttocks of half-naked women to the rhythm of loud music. The association is facing mounting criticism.
The entire scene took place on a stage, in front of hundreds of people in the audience, members of which recorded the images. Rector Heleen Vos confirmed to Het Parool that it was a hired act. The women were dressed in torn tights and thongs. It is unclear whether the men, one of whom was also bare-bottomed, are members of ASC. The association was asked for a response but hasn’t replied.
The new video comes after another video shot on Sunday evening during a dinner for the association’s 34th anniversary. In it, a man tells a room full of male members, among other things, that women are “nothing and nothing more than a whore.” Three other men also gave misogynistic speeches that evening. Three of the four speakers resigned from their position at the association on Tuesday.
Education Minister Robbert DIjkgraaf is “very shocked” by the sexist statements during the party. He spoke of “extreme, sexually transgressive statements,” which are not an isolated event.
“This situation once again shows how deeply rooted and persistent the problem of sexually transgressive behavior is,” said Dijkgraaf. According to him, it finds a breeding ground in “gender stereotyping, power inequality, and uncorrected behavior. It is important to tackle this “at the core,” according to the Minister.
Dijkgraaf called it “brave” that members of the association spoke out against the sexual harassment and the “macho culture” within the association. He thinks it is good that the boards of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the VU University (VU), and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) have also condemned the misconduct.
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema is looking into measures she can take against ASC/AVSV after the statements. An extreme step could be the (temporary) withdrawal of the Warmoessstraat society’s operating license, she said.
According to Halsema, these male members of ASC/AVSV are guilty of sexism, discrimination, and inciting violence against women by saying from a stage: “break the necks of women.” She called the statements “unacceptable and completely reprehensible.”
The mayor also called the “misconduct” a slap in the face of the student association’s daily management. “Over the past year, I have had two conversations with the Senate, its rector, and a representation of the reunions. They have made an incredible effort to change the culture.”
Halsema said that she had contact again with rector Heleen Vos. “She deserves unequivocal support.” The mayor also expressed her “great appreciation and respect” for the authors and signatories of a letter speaking out against the speeches. “It is these members who have the right course in mind. I assume that they will do their utmost to make significant adjustments to the ASC, together with the senate and other boards. The association must be a safe environment for current and new members, especially young women.”
After previous misconduct, the ASC/AVSV worked on a culture change over the past year. The association previously said it would investigate the events at the dinner and see whether it needs to file charges.
The ASC/AVSV suspended the registration of aspiring members until further notice, Vos said. “The Senate of the ASC/AVSV believes it is important that all time and energy is devoted to good investigation and adequate response to these events in the coming period,” she said.
Reporting by ANP