Wageningen Young Academy Condemns Racism and Calls for Action

Published on
June 10, 2020

The Wageningen Young Academy (WYA) strongly condemns any form of racism, harassment, or discrimination and acknowledges their harmful impacts.

We stand in solidarity with those engaging in protests of systemic racism, oppression, and brutality, and we are committed to continue working in anti-racist ways. 

Stories emerging through #BlackInTheIvory highlight the struggles of Black academics. Given the breadth of these stories, which span career stages and institutes, it is safe to assume these issues unfortunately exist everywhere. Wageningen University and Research needs to clarify policies and practices to ensure everyone continuously feels welcome, included, and appreciated, and identify and remove existing barriers. We support calls to assess systemic racism within WUR with a view towards making structural changes. We must create opportunities to listen to and learn from those who have experienced racism on campus and elsewhere to better  understand its impacts.

In releasing this call for action we are, in many ways, learning while doing. We are educating ourselves but realise there is a lot that we do not yet understand fully. We are also limited by the language we have available to us. However, we can commit to learning from our errors and oversights and to not making them again.

We cannot ignore the devastating effects that systemic racism and injustice have on safety, security, and health. We must do a better job, not just confronting racism, but also being actively anti-racist. It is also our responsibility to constantly push ourselves, our institutions, and our societies to enact anti-racist policies. Unintentional racism is still racism with very real consequences.

We cannot be silent. We must speak out and act. 

Such action is hard: it requires changes in our institutions and societies. The burden of this work must fall on those of us who hold privilege. As members of the Wageningen Young Academy, we are committed to this change and to the sustained effort it requires. We are ready to engage in difficult conversations and to assess our own behaviours and actions. Above all, we are ready to listen and to learn and then to act in solidarity.


What can WUR do to reduce racism and its impacts? Please share your ideas and experiences. We want to hear from you. The WYA and its Diversity Working Group can both be reached by email:

Below are a selection of resources for people who wish to learn more.

•          What is privilege and how can it be used responsibly? a comic by Robot Hugs

•          Anti-racism resources for white people, a collection of resources compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein

•          So You Want to Talk About Race, a YouTube talk by Ijeoma Oluo

•          How to Be an Antiracist, a book by Ibram X. Kendi

•          How Faculty Hiring Committees Reproduce Whiteness and Practical Suggestions for How They Can Change, an article by Özlem
Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo

•          Homework for Those Seeking to Be Allies, a post by Sarah Ballard

•          10 Tangible actions to support Black faculty, staff, and students a post by Jasmine Roberts

Download here the WYA Racism Statement