University building evacuated once more on Wednesday; education to continue on Thursday

After another tumultuous day and evening, during which all university buildings in the city center had to be closed, we would like to announce that these buildings will re-open on Thursday and educational activities will continue as planned. As Janskerkhof 15a had been occupied, classes planned in this building will be moved to another location.

After a peaceful pro-Palestine demonstration at the Janskerkhof, we regret to inform you that a university building was occupied once more by demonstrators on Wednesday afternoon. This time the building occupied was Janskerkhof 15a, mainly used for education by the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Law, Economics, Governance and Organization (REBO). Despite repeated attempts by the university to engage in dialogue, the demonstrators who occupied the building were unwilling to communicate. Mediation by a police negotiator did not alter the situation, and the building was evacuated around 11 p.m.

Anton Pijpers, chairman of the Executive Board: “After a peaceful start, today we observed that the atmosphere had changed. As the Executive Board, we always have final responsibility for the safety of the people in our buildings and on our campuses. We could no longer guarantee this today. We are unsure how many people were in the building, and who they were. The doors were barricaded from the inside and the police tell us that the activists, who certainly did not consist solely of UU students, had pallets and stones with them and some were wearing chemical-resistant gloves. In short, unfortunately there was reason for great concern and even though it was painful to see, we saw the necessity to act to guarantee the safety of our people.”

Anton Pijpers tried several times to communicate with the demonstrators and start a conversation. However, this proved to be impossible, as the demonstrators indicated that they did not want to enter into discussions as long as their demands were not met. Around 9:30 p.m., as the activists were still inside, Anton Pijpers, together with the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, a frequent user of the building, formally asked the demonstrators to leave. The police then evacuated the building, where approximately thirty people were still present at the time.

We will continue to inform you of further developments via, please visit the UU and the situation in Gaza and Israel page for updates.

The Executive Board of Utrecht University,

Anton Pijpers
Henk Kummeling
Margot van der Starre

Interested to talk further? Or do you need help?

Utrecht University is committed to supporting everyone who is directly or indirectly affected by these events. We offer our students and employees support in this regard. If you are a student and are looking for information, advice or guidance, check the page Who to contact? to see who you can contact. Employees who are concerned can seek support from their manager and Staff Welfare Service (intranet, login required).