‘Burqa ban’ also in effect on RUG grounds

Concierges responsible for upholding ban

‘Burqa ban’ also in effect on RUG grounds

Wearing any clothing that covers the face will no longer be allowed in RUG buildings and on university grounds. On Tuesday, the RUG board decided that the concierges, among others, are responsible for upholding the ‘burqa ban’.
By Giulia Fabrizi / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

On Tuesday, the RUG board of directors consented to new guidelines that would allow the university to actively take action against people wearing clothing that covers theirs face.

The ban on clothing that covers the face has also been included in the recently published student statutes. This means the ‘burqa ban’, as it’s colloquially known, is now officially in effect in all the RUG’s buildings and on all the grounds.

Enforcement

Anyone who does try to enter a university building wearing a full-face helmet, balaclava, or burqa will be confronted. ‘We will be following the instructions that the Ministry of the Interior has issued’, says RUG spokesperson Jorien Bakker. ‘But our first approach will always be to ask politely.’

Service department employees, which includes the concierges, will be responsible for upholding the ban. ‘They’ll politely point out that the clothing someone is wearing isn’t allowed’, Bakker explains.

If someone refuses to remove their face cover even after repeated requests, security will be called. ‘They will also ask the person to remove the offending piece of clothing. If that doesn’t work, they’ll call the police.’

Unrecognisable

As of August 1, it is illegal to wear clothing that obscures the face to the extent that a person is unrecognisable on public transport and in and around educational, healthcare, and government buildings. The law doesn’t mention any specific clothing items, but it has become colloquially known as the ‘burqa ban’.

Critics of the law says it’s a case of symbol politics, aimed at solving a problem that doesn’t actually exist while disenfranchising a small group of mostly Islamic women. When the law was introduced, the mayors of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht all said that they wouldn’t prioritise upholding it.

Criticism at the RUG

People at the RUG are also critical of the decision to uphold the law. Student party DAG and the Groningen Feminist Network (GFN) both said they were disappointed. ‘The university has a certain kind of freedom when it comes to upholding this law. They could have decided to stand with other critics of the law, like the mayor of Amsterdam’, says Manuel Reyes, DAG university council faction member.

DAG and GFN don’t understand how a university that only last year celebrated its anniversary around the theme of ‘inclusivity’ is now taking measures that DAG and GFN feel are discriminating.

‘We’d hoped that the university would set a good example’, says Reyes.

Over Saskia Jonker

Saskia Jonker

Eindredacteur. Is in haar vrije tijd op een missie om alle restaurants in Stad uit te proberen.

Copy editor. In her free time she is on a mission to try out all the restaurants in the city.

Nederlands

30 October 2019 | 4-11-2019, 14:23