Safety measures are needed for dozens of scientists. ‘He said: we will kill you’

Due to threats, hatred or intimidation, security measures were taken against 59 scientists and university staff last year. The measures range from disconnecting contact data to physically moving scientists. Some universities have also had to hire security or have been provided assistance in filing a report. Last year, structural security measures were taken for fourteen scientists.

This is stated in the monitor External intimidation, hatred and threats against scientists from the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) and the scientific organizations NWO and KNAW. The investigation included interrogations of security officials from the fourteen universities involved. Data from the KennisVeilig platform was also used, where a report can be made. This was launched in November 2022.

“Unacceptable and terrible”

UNL President Caspar van der Berg considers it “unacceptable and terrible that scientists have to worry about their safety after sharing the results of their research.”

The monitor is launching for the first time this year, so it is not possible to compare it with previous years. Universities do note that there is a growth in activism and a blurring of norms about how people interact in society, resulting in stronger responses to science communication. “The way people interact with each other and what is considered acceptable behavior towards others appears to be changing.”

Scientists working on issues such as climate change, migration, the war between Israel and Hamas and, in particular, vaccination face backlash, intimidation and even threats. Researchers and professors working in these disciplines were more likely to engage in self-censorship. Various institutions indicated that women suffer more intimidation and threats than men. Women also suffer more sexual harassment.

‘We will kill you’

Professor of Migration History Marlou Schrover (Leiden University) was recently threatened by email, she claims. That happened when they were on a talk show. In 1 criticized the asylum plans of the new coalition parties and, in fact, stated that some plans are unworkable or contrary to (European) law.

“I got an email that said, we’re going to kill you,” Schrover says. “An email like that really hits home. It made me feel bad. It didn’t immediately make me sleep less, but the threat did cause anxiety. Then a few days later I heard a radio program. With a view to tomorrow When they asked me for an interview, I hesitated. That’s exactly what threat actors are looking for: they have achieved their goal. “It undermines the functioning of democracy.”

After the threat, Schrover raised the alarm at his university and reported it to the police. “The university security department took the report very seriously. “After the threat, my room number and phone number, among other things, were removed from the university website.”

The security monitor to be released on Monday also claims that the way political leaders conduct debate on certain issues influences reports of hate, intimidation and threats.

Migration expert Schrover wholeheartedly supports this observation. “Politicians dismiss scientists as just people with an opinion. People who sometimes talk at the top of their lungs. No, when I sit at a table somewhere, I share facts. Politicians who discredit him in this way deliberately participate in the sliding scale. “I believe those comments constitute threats or intimidation.”

Also read:

Universities believe that classroom security guards cannot continue like this

Dutch universities want to oppose bullying of scientists. To start with a direct line.

Source link

Leave a Comment

data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data