Dutch populists seek reports of ‘left indoctrination’ on campuses

‘Hotline’ created by Thierry Baudet’s party ‘goes against everything we stand for’, says Maastricht president

April 1, 2019
Protest
Source: Getty

A Dutch right-wing populist party set up by an ex-academic has renewed its attack on universities following its election victory, setting up a “hotline” for reports and videos of left-wing “indoctrination” by lecturers.

The antimulticulturalism, anti-European Union Forum for Democracy was launched as a political party in 2016 by 36-year-old former Leiden University law lecturer Thierry Baudet – a movement born from his Leiden PhD thesis, his former supervisor told Times Higher Education last week.

The Forum for Democracy gained more votes than any other party in provincial elections for the upper house of the Dutch parliament held on 20 March (although it only won 14.5 per cent of the vote).

Since the election, the party has provoked outrage among many in Dutch universities and condemnation from the education minister by setting up a “hotline” for “reporting indoctrination at schools and universities”, inviting videos and other evidence of supposed left-wing bias in teaching.

This followed Mr Baudet’s election victory speech, in which he said that “civilisation” was being destroyed “by the people who should protect us”. He went on to say: “We are undermined by our universities, by our journalists, by the people who receive our art grants and who design our buildings.” 

The Forum for Democracy “hotline” has brought condemnation from a number of Dutch university presidents and rectors, although it is widely regarded as a political stunt.

Carel Stolker, Leiden’s rector magnificus and president, said in a tweet that the hotline was “idiotic” and an attempt to attract attention. Universities were among the world’s most enduring institutions, he said.

Martin Paul, president of Maastricht University, told Times Higher Education: “Although I am generally not getting nervous about political soundbites, the recent statement of Mr Baudet that universities are a sort of ‘enemy of the people’ needs to be corrected.

“Also, the action of his party to create a ‘hotline for reporting indoctrination at school and universities’ goes against everything we stand for: free speech, tolerance, openness and respect for each other. As academic communities, we need to take a strong stand against anybody who is trying to undermine our academic principles.”

Earlier this year, THE reported that academics around the world were increasingly facing threats of secret recording and denunciation online by their own students, as tactics used by far-right activists in the US have been taken up in nations including Germany, Brazil and Hungary.

An open letter circulated among Dutch university staff expresses alarm “at the recent actions and statements” of the Forum for Democracy and Mr Baudet.

“Given the strong interest Baudet expresses in dismissing climate science and promoting history based on national pride, it is clear that this initiative is not genuinely interested in reducing bias in academic institutions,” says the letter. “Rather, it is interested in selectively discounting knowledge that does not fit its political and ideological aims.”

The letter urges Dutch academics to unite in making clear that “our society will not tolerate any political infringement on the freedom to conduct critical academic research and education”.

john.morgan@timeshighereducation.com

登录 或者 注册 以便阅读全文。

请先注册再进行下一步

获得一个月的无限制地在线阅读网站内容。只需注册并完成您的职业简介.

注册是免费的,而且非常简单。一旦成功注册,您可以每个月免费阅读3篇文章。:

  • 获得编辑推荐文章
  • 率先获得泰晤士高等教育世界大学排名相关的新闻
  • 获得职位推荐、筛选工作和保存工作搜索结果
  • 参与读者讨论和公布评论
注册

相关文章

Claims that academics are indoctrinating their students with liberal propaganda are increasingly common in the right-wing media. John Morgan examines why such a conviction has arisen and whether there is any substance to it

21 February

Reader's comments (3)

An oddly McCarthyist take on call-out culture.
It cuts the other way too, as in the recent Lindsey Shepherd case in Canada: https://soundcloud.com/tristin-john-hopper/recording-of-meeting-between-lindsay-shepherd-and-wilfrid-laurier-university-professors
Good to hear! Let's call out those who are against Europe, and mock our relative who died thanks to the lies spread by Marx and the rest. Great!

欢迎反馈

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Universities in most nations are now obliged to prioritise graduate career prospects, but how it should be approached depends on your view of the meaning of education. Academics need to think that through much more clearly, says Tom Cutterham

20 June

赞助