Four of the five universities that want to keep track of the employees' background are temporarily halting the project.
Four of the five universities that want to keep track of the employees' background are temporarily halting the project.

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Diversity barometer for universities has been discontinued for the time being

Five universities want to map out the cultural diversity among their employees, but participation councils are strongly critical of this 'barometer'. Four universities are pausing.

Insight into the migration background of employees would help to combat the inequality in science, the universities believe. Five of them are therefore participating in the so-called 'Cultural Diversity Barometer'. They share certain data of their personnel with Statistics Netherlands and receive anonymous data files about origin.

Lists

In the House of Representatives, the discussion about the diversity project was already running high last year. Maintaining 'lists' of ethnicity and migration background went too far for several parties. The VVD has asked parliamentary questions about the barometer.

There is also resistance at the universities themselves. Earlier this month, Utrecht University announced that it would pause its participation after concerns from the University Council. Meanwhile, the university has decided to stop this participation “in its current form”, reports DUB.

The project is not completely off the track. UU wants to come up with a plan for a new set-up as soon as possible in consultation with the other universities and the employee representatives.

In conversation

The University of Amsterdam stated last week that it will not share any data with Statistics Netherlands for the time being. The central works council of the university is strongly against this. Ideally, the council would like to see the university stop the project altogether, but the board first wants to talk to find a solution, Folia writes.

Leiden University followed on 23 April with the decision to suspend its participation. There, too, the university council had a lot of criticism of the project, Mare reports. “The Board considers broad support for the diversity and inclusion policy important and has established that this is not currently available for the barometer,” says the university. The board wants to put together an “expert group” that thinks about how to proceed.

Not known

The VU University has also put the project “temporarily on hold”. It is not yet known whether Erasmus University Rotterdam will also suspend data sharing with Statistics Netherlands.

Read also: 'Higher education awaits a fierce debate about racism'

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