Another day of the intelligent corona lockdown. So far, I have taught myself how to light up a BBQ, became European Champion at FIFA, voted for the student council and educated myself on racism and discrimination. While the Black Lives Matter movement is keeping millions up on their feet, the University of Twente is staying silent. Neither acknowledging the issue, nor educating their students, nor showing solidarity with the movement. To remove the argument of an internationally-focused educational institution to stay out of political business: The University of Amsterdam and the Erasmus University of Rotterdam immediately shared information about the protests on their social media. So how come the UT and all its channels are completely disregarding a movement that is considered even more relevant than the Corona virus? Who would not support a movement against racism?
I must say that this silence is no surprise to me. The UT has never shared their political position. Living on Campus and studying at the UT feels a bit like living in a bubble. Topics being discussed on the news and in talk shows rarely ever find their way into student life. Racism, sexism and discrimination among students and associations seem to be non-existent. False. A short look behind the scenes reveals a completely different picture.
The same but reversed is true for the other ongoing crisis. The UT is trying their best to communicate new guidelines and measures in relation to the virus outbreak. However, I witness students being visited by their parents almost every week. Including exhaustive hugs, of course. Students are also leaving the campus in flocks when the weekend is approaching. Assumingly to their parents’ house, just like before the crisis. And then I have not even mentioned the groups of students wandering off to parties at night. Fortunately, the virus has not yet spread in Twente because the students would not stop it.
These are only two examples lately that make me feel like the student life at the UT is too isolated from the real world. To some extent, it is very beneficial that students form a community within society. Young people are able to figure themselves out in a much smaller and safer world. But also this community is affected by problems facing the whole society. Actually, the student community would be the perfect opportunity to try to solve issues like sexism and discrimination on a smaller scale. However, the UT would have to acknowledge them first to make this work. Until then, try to make a change yourself. For example, go vote for the student council candidates who do dare to bring up actual problems.