VUB statement about undocumented people on campus

VUB statement about undocumented people on campus

Since 19 February, approximately 40 undocumented migrants have occupied a room on VUB’s Etterbeek campus, as well as spaces at ULB and the Begijnhof church in central Brussels. These people wish to draw attention to their situation and therefore strengthen their demand for collective legalisation of their status. Yesterday, some of those present announced a hunger strike. While VUB understands the position of those involved, it regrets this action and hopes that they will reconsider their decision.

VUB believes it is not its place to take a political stand on this issue. It therefore opts for a two-pronged approach, based on its social mission on the one hand and its scientific mission as a research-driven educational institution on the other.

‘We stand for truth, justice and the value of a human being'

In line with the university’s values and mission – freedom, equality and solidarity – we will treat the people on our campus with full respect. VUB is committed to providing them with proper infrastructure, including alternative spaces, showers and wifi, as well as psychosocial support. At the same time, the necessary measures will be taken to ensure public order and sanitary safety within the context of Covid-19 on campus. VUB thus wants to ensure regular operations on campus with respect for the students, staff and the undocumented people. 

Focus on research and education

VUB wants to engage in social dialogue and debate by underpinning it with multi-faceted and multi-voiced research, with, among others, the research unit BIRMM (Brussels Interdisciplinary Research centre on Migration and Minorities), the Hannah Arendt Institute and external experts. In this context, the Secretary of State for Migration, Sammy Mahdi, has also pledged to engage in dialogue and meetings.

The case of the undocumented migrants is also addressed in a publication by the BIRMM on “migration, equality and racism”, which will be part of the university-wide elective course Reasonably Independent next academic year.

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Sicco Wittermans
Sicco Wittermans Spokesperson Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Sicco Wittermans
Sicco Wittermans Spokesperson Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

The World Needs You

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


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