Last week, three students from Utrecht University, Alexander Beunder, Maartje Oostijk, and Abuljssan Al-Jaberi, together with Emerita Prof. Gloria Wekker, initiated a petition that calls on the dean of Utrecht University to step back from his yearly formal welcoming of Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet. They ‘denounce the racist tones’ of the Black Pete figure and the debate that has surrounded the issue and ask him to ‘not to participate in an implicit reaffirmation of these racist dimensions by uncritically welcoming Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet on 16th November 2014’.
The media has picked up on the petition as soon as it launched. Both the Telegraaf and DUB mention in their articles that the dean claims to have invited the petition initiators for a meeting. The initiators made it know that they have not received a response from the dean yet.
The campaign supporting the petition will close with a Day of Action in the Uithof on 12 November 2014, one day before the petition with the 500 signatures will be handed in to the dean. More information will follow soon.
Please read, support and distribute the petition here.