In the statement addressed to staff and students, the Executive Board announced that TU Delft ‘stands for diversity’ and that this is one of the university’s core values. The Board repeats that all members of the TU Delft community must treat each other with respect ‘regardless of culture, creed, ethnicity, socio-economic background, gender and sexual orientation. This is laid down in our Strategic Framework.’
It then follows with ‘We respect that everyone has a personal opinion, but the starting point is respect for each other. TU Delft trusts that the members of our community must act according to these principles’. To demonstrate TU Delft’s core values, it will raise the rainbow flag, the international symbol of diversity and inclusivity, tomorrow at the dies natalis.
TrueU, the LGTBI network at TU Delft, sent a letter yesterday to the Executive Board after Professor Marc de Vries had signed the Nashville Statement. The Nashville Statement states, among other things, that it is ‘sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism’.
In its letter, TrueU reports being ‘extremely concerned’ about De Vries’ action and asks if he speaks on behalf of TU Delft. TrueU wants to clear any doubts about this and asks how De Vries’ public statements can go hand in hand with the ethical codes and the diversity policy of TU Delft.
The letter expresses the hope that TU Delft ‘takes great distance’ from the statements ‘and takes steps to deal with the Professor’. TrueU wants TU Delft to make it clear in a personal meeting that ‘this sort of action is counterproductive, undermines the diversity policy and creates an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion as well as a feeling of insecurity’. The network also calls upon the Executive Board to raise the rainbow flag, the international symbol of diversity and inclusivity, at the dies natalis tomorrow.
Asked for a response to TrueU’s letter, Board member Rob Mudde did not want to make any firm statements on the issue today. The Board will first discuss the matter with the individuals involved. “This is a highly sensitive matter with opposing values,” says Mudde. “It involves two aspects of principle with a very thin dividing line: the freedom of speech versus acting respectfully. This must first be discussed internally. I believe strongly that we should follow this procedure.”