UvA students and teachers protested on Roeterseiland Campus today against the sexual misconduct of a lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities first exposed by national newspaper NRC. The protestors demanded the resignation of the dean, the ombudsman, the diversity officer and part of the UvA board.
The newspaper article, relying on anonymous reports gathered from six students, former students and employees, states that the teacher was known to massage the shoulders of students, have put his hand on a student’s thigh and under another’s sweater. The teacher denies this. He does not, however, deny making sexualised remarks. He has described a starch stain (starch is used for the restoration of books) as similar to sperm;and has told an international student that in the Netherlands, it’s possible to pay ‘another way,’ not just with money.
Students report feeling unsafe and have lodged multiple complaints, but the UvA has had no grounds to fire the teacher due to the complaints being anonymous. The teacher received an official warning last year, but still works on the master’s programme Conservation and Restoration, although he is not teaching anymore.
The UvA has described the NRC report as ‘very unbalanced’ but ‘deeply regrets that students had to experience this’. The UvA board also announced it was launching an investigation into sexual misconduct at the university. This is not enough for the students, however. ‘What this situation shows is that the UvA does not facilitate reporting and even discourages it.’