Human Geography, and Environmental Governance and Politics end collaboration with Israeli universities

11 Jun 2024

Unlike the Executive Board, the programs Human Geography, and Environmental Governance and Politics will end institutional collaborations with Israel. In practice, this means that the programs will no longer offer student exchange support.

The Human Geography chair group and Environmental Governance and Politics chair group will end its institutional ties with Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The group is doing this to protest the human rights violations in Gaza. In doing so, Human Geography, and Environmental Governance and Politics are taking a divergent stance from the college’s governing body, which refuses to sever these institutional ties despite repeated calls from protesting students and staff.


Professor Arnoud Lagendijk wrote on LinkedIn that his group’s commitment to social rights does not end with what they write or teach about conflict, borders, cities, and injustice. That is why the group has collectively decided to cut ties with the two Israeli universities until they stop their ‘complicity in this war, this apartheid, dispossession, and military occupation.’

From a practical perspective, this means that the programs will no longer provide support for the formal exchange of students between institutions, Lagendijk explained over the phone. ‘It is not about individual contacts and collaborations, but about the formal and institutional relationships.’


Lagendijk would have preferred to see the Executive Board reach the same decision. When this failed to materialise, the programme took matters into their own hands. Most of the Human Geography staff are 100 per cent behind this decision, Lagendijk told us. ‘Some want it a bit sharper and others a bit milder, but there is consensus on this point.’

Lagendijk finds the Executive Board’s attitude towards the demonstrations ‘panicky.’ He stresses that no examinations should be disrupted, and that vandalism goes way too far, but he also denounces the measures taken against the protests. ‘Channelling the right to protest, requiring ID, and banning face coverings go against that right. Let us continue to work together on building opinions.’

Translated by Lieke Stevens

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