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Aan: Executive Board of Utrecht University


Universities should be leading the way as we face the existential challenge of the climate crisis. As a scientific community that understands and agrees on the evidence, it has the moral responsibility to inform and influence the rest of society. But instead, they are distracted with small-scale, incremental actions that are known to be nowhere near enough of what this crisis requires. Also Utrecht University proudly proclaims that “contributing to sustainability challenges is a top priority on its long-term agenda”, while having no clear plan and continuing to collaborate with the fossil fuel industry under the veil of developing “green” technologies that in the end only keep these immoral companies alive.

That is why we demand Utrecht University to:

1. Cut all Ties with the Fossil Fuel Industry.
1.1 Do not accept any funding from the fossil fuel industry.
1.2 Do not start new research projects with the fossil fuel industry.
1.3 Stop all research projects by 2025 that either work with, or help the fossil fuel industry.
1.4 Do not promote the fossil fuel industry through career days, excursions, guest lectures/research, or other recruitment activities.
1.5 Do not employ people that are simultaneously involved, either financially or intellectually, with the fossil fuel industry.
1.6 Establish a democratic student/staff commission that creates a moral framework to evaluate all collaborations with industry partners.
2. Be Transparent and Take Responsibility.
2.1 Be transparent on all partners and finance flows into the university.
2.2 Be transparent on your climate impact and reporting.
2.3 Integrate sustainability and environmental justice in all curricula/faculty programs and establish a mandatory course on the climate crisis that is truly interdisciplinary.
2.4 Declare the climate and ecological emergency with a call for climate justice
2.5 Take responsibility as a public educational institution to hold the government accountable on their climate commitments.
2.6 Clarify and democratize Utrecht University's 'Strategic Plan 2025 subsection sustainability' by being specific, tangible, and time-bound.
2.7 Increase the access and availability of free climate education for the public in forms of lectures, access to university resources, materials, library spaces, etc.
2.8 Educate and integrate a climate justice approach to research and teaching: acknowledge the university's position in the Global North, and commit to a post-extractivist research ethics.
3. Make the university accessible.
3.1 Make the university an inclusive space accessible for everybody.
3.2 Involve staff and students in democratic decision-making, through the introduction of a student/staff assembly which holds real decision-making power.
3.3 End precarization of university staff: end zero-hour, non-permanent, and casual contracts.
3.4 Offer affordable and ethical food choices: plant-based, localised, seasonal and organic food.
3.5 Demand an end to student dept from the government.
3.6 Demand free transportation for international students and staff from the government.
3.7 Provide support and documentation for international students to access services that are within their right as a resident of the Netherlands.
3.8 Ensure access to affordable housing for all students.

Waarom is het belangrijk?

The climate catastrophe is now, it is a real threat to human and planetary well-being, and we are extremely close on time to avoid worse consequences. This was the conclusion of the latest IPCC report, in which the world’s leading scientists call for a radical and fast transformation of our economy, politics, and society: “We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a livable future”.

We need research that truly works towards the University’s vision of “a better world”, and that removes barriers to achieving this. Universities must create room for nurturing radical new ideas and provide their students and staff with the tools necessary to be a part of transforming our society.
Utrecht, Netherlands

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