21 May 2024

The University of Copenhagen has suspended its dialogue with the students who have set up camp at City campus

The Rectorate

No one can threaten, harass or destroy their way to a special right at our University

Friday's blocking of the University Square clearly shows that the students no longer recognise the framework for expressing an opinion at a university. We do not hold all the protesting students to account for the blocking of entrances, but note that no one seems to be speaking on behalf of the students. Which is why there is no longer any basis for continuing the dialogue.

All along, we have asked of our students that their protests must be part of a dialogue where those involved both speak and listen, and where the goal is always to be challenged and to learn more. The same principle, of course, applies to us. Even though the blockade and the vandalism on Friday were completely outside the scope of the University's activities, the constructive and dialogue-seeking students and staff we have been in contact with should not be held hostage by the unwise. Our many conversations with students and staff about the University's relation to the dreadful conflict in Israel and Palestine have given rise to the following reflections by the Rectorate at the University of Copenhagen:

  • We find it entirely reasonable that the university population knows what the University's funds are invested in. Navigating how to invest ethically is becoming increasingly complex. Therefore, we will seek to make the content of the University of Copenhagen's investment portfolio available to the public. We are currently investigating how we can give regular status updates for the portfolio within the framework of the existing contracts.
  • We continuously make a point of not having investments that can be considered contrary to the Danish foreign policy. That’s why we will intensify the dialogue with our asset managers to monitor this aspect, and we will also monitor the market for investment products that match this line of thinking. There will be a separate focus on this part of the University's ethical investment policy next time UCPH puts its asset management business out to tender.
  • We will review the University's procurement policy to avoid any doubt about the University's compliance with general ethical and sustainability requirements and international law. To that end we're appointing a working group to consider how our procurement policy can be updated to better reflect good practice.
  • Our students and staff who are affected in various ways by the conflict in Israel and Palestine will continue to be given attention. We will go on supporting all students and staff who feel vulnerable or exposed, and we will look into the possibilities for providing further help for these groups.

A university must never run out of care, conversation and dialogue. But it must be on the University's terms, just as the University cannot and must not be taken hostage by individual groups. This means that we are suspending all further dialogue with the students who have set up camp at the University of Copenhagen.

Our students are, as always, welcome to voice their opinions through their elected representatives on our many representative councils, boards and committees and by exercising their extensive freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. We will continue to safeguard students’ right to protest as long as it’s in accordance with the University's traditions and values and does not impede the University's activities.

The Rectorate at the University of Copenhagen, 21 May 2024