As a higher education institution, we share the great concerns about the situation. We, like many of our students and colleagues, hope that the spiral of violence and the human suffering will end as soon as possible.

As the Executive Board, we see it as our main task to assure the well-being of all our students and employees, in particular those located in the conflict area and/or those in the Netherlands, with (family) ties to Israel or the Palestinian Territories. This is also why our priority after October 7th was offering our support to any of our students or employees who were directly or indirectly affected by the conflict. We did so via email on 9 October 2023.

We believe it is essential that the college is and remains a safe place for all our students and employees, regardless of their origin, background or political beliefs. We do our very best to safeguard and facilitate independent thinking, critical debate and analysis, in the hope that this will result in solutions, innovations and ideas about how things can be done differently. We understand the call to take a stand. However, that is not our role as UCR. We are a university college, not a political institute. In many places within the college, we see that the conversation about recent developments is held with respect for each other’s positions and feelings. At the same time, we are also receiving signals that the debate is hardening.

We therefore urgently appeal to our entire community to maintain peace and unity, with attention and respect for each other. At UCR, there should always be room for different perspectives and feelings. Accusations of complicity in or support of genocide, calls for hatred, violence, intolerance, or side-picking are obviously not part of that. To continue having an open conversation with each other is extra important, especially now that violence and mutual tension are increasing.

We are concerned about the students and staff who are directly or indirectly affected by the current events, and we offer them support. Students and staff who need someone to talk to can receive the necessary assistance from us. With this guide, students can see where they can get help. Not all services listed in this UU guide are available to UCR students. Please contact the counsellor if a specific support service listed is not available at UCR. Students facing financial difficulties due to the current conflict can, of course, apply for our Emergency Fund. In emergencies, such as acute threatening and/or unsafe situations, please call the police on 112. This number is not intended for general, non-urgent safety inquiries.

To reiterate, we are truly saddened by the spiral of violence and the human suffering in many parts of the world, and we hope, along with so many of our students and colleagues, that it will end as soon as possible. And here at UCR, we hope that respectful dialogue can contribute to breaking a spiral of further polarization.