Turkish student rejected

by University of Amsterdam for Kurdistan invasion

By ADELE MOLTEDO | November 19, 2019

Cover photo by 

A Turkish, bioengineering student from the Ege University of Izmir, Turkey has recently seen their application to a University of Amsterdam (UvA) internship program rejected. UvA professor and biologist, Tanneke den Blaauwen, rejected them in an e-mail on the basis of their nationality, citing the Turkish invasion of Kurdistan as a reason to reject the student’s application. The professor teaches at the Science Faculty, at the Swammerdam Institute of Life Sciences.

The student in question, who preferred to stay anonymous, applied to the UvA for an ERASMUS+ programme, consisting of a two-month long internship during the summer of 2020. They applied directly to the professor in order to receive financial benefits from the programme. When their correspondence was published on Twitter, The UvA released a statement denouncing that political reasons did not justify the rejection of a prospective student.

Within a week, a petition titled “Relieve discriminatory professor of her tenure – statement of support for internationalism” was published on Change.org, accumulating 300 signatures as November 12, 2019. The petition calls for the dismissal of den Blaauwen and a condemnation of her action by the Rector Magnificus and the Dean of International Students. It also recalls Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution, which protects anyone in the Netherlands from discrimination.

The UvA issued personal excuses to the affected student, who in any case withdrew their internship application and admonished the professor in question, highlighting the institution’s disagreement with her behaviour. There were, however, no further public actions taken by the University, with mentions of a discussion on the decision planned. Neither the UvA website, nor the professor’s personal page further mentions the exchange.

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