Courageous Conversations


Courageous Conversations 17:

Increasing inequality due to Corona crisis

  • Thursday 15 April 2021
  • 4 p.m. - 5.15 p.m.
  • Free events, via Zoom
  • Target group: VU students (no press)
  • Language: Englist, with breakout-rooms in English and Dutch
  • Register

Exactly a year ago, the Executive Board received a cry for help from students who pointed out that inequality between students is likely to increase with the consequences of the Corona Crisis. We are now a year later and the balance can be drawn up.

Students and staff are not doing well in this Corona Crisis! Everyone is now aware of this. But there are specific groups of students and staff who are more affected by the measures surrounding the COVID-19 virus than others. For a university that cherishes diversity, it is important to keep an eye on vulnerable groups within the VU community. That special attention is still not always self-evident.

From the point of view of diversity, there are various student groups that have an extra difficult time. Students with a disability, who often encountered all kinds of problems in the period before Corona. Certainly if the disability is "invisible", these students often have to take extra measures to be able to adapt to the current situation. Accessibility on campus and digital accessibility in a broad sense is now an even bigger problem. Then there are the students from the rainbow community of the VU, for whom social interaction with peers and other students is so important, and who are now often confined to their homes. And of course students with a migration background, many of whom still live at home, in situations that are far from ideal for studying and taking exams.

With the arrival of Corona, new tools have been introduced to enable online exams. The balance between privacy protection and the importance of study progress and fraud-resistant testing is not always easy to find. With these tools, too, the question can be asked that they only increase existing inequality.

Many students run into financial problems. Their side jobs have disappeared. It is sometimes difficult to keep a student residence. This increases the physical distance from the VU, and thus also the possibility of being present on campus if the home situation is not suitable for studying.

Finally, there is the broader problem of social safety. Social safety issues move to the home situation. We are confronted with new, complex problems for which we are not always well equipped.

In this Courageous Conversation, we engage in an honest discussion as to whether there is indeed increasing inequality. And if so, what can we think of to counteract the negative effects on our most vulnerable students.

About Courageous Conversations

With the Courageous Conversations we create room to discuss topics such as racism, exclusion and freedom of speech at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.