Maastricht University to give students mandatory lessons on sexual boundaries
From September, Maastricht University will offer first-year students compulsory lessons on sexual boundaries and sexual violence. Maastricht is the first university in the Netherlands to make information on transgressive behavior mandatory, Trouw reports.
Until now, the university only organized informal workshops and lectures on subjects around transgressive behavior, for example, on consensual sex. “We now think it is time for the next step,” Maastricht University spokesperson Koen Augustijn said to the newspaper. “The point has come to remove the non-commitment and put this theme even more emphatically on the agenda.”
What precisely the lessons will look like is not yet clear. The university is still figuring out whether to make the lessons part of the educational curriculum, or part of introduction weeks, for example. It is also not yet clear whether the classes will focus only on sexual misconduct or on broader themes of social safety.
The policy change is partly the result of studies showing the extent of sexually transgressive behavior at the university. A 2021 study showed that 46.9 percent of Maastricht University students had been sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, or raped since enrolling at the university.
“Fortunately, we do not see the number of reports of transgressive behavior in Maastricht increasing, but the figures speak for themselves,” Augustijn said. “Although sexual education is not our primary task, we want to educate our students in this area. It is especially important because our students come from all over the world and do not all have the same background. How do you treat each other? And where can you go in case of incidents? We dow hat is within our capabilities.”