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International Classroom: Was UvA’s apology to pedo-activist Maatman necessary?

By March 30, 2020 No Comments

UvA invited Nelson Maatman, pedophile-activist, to give a guest-lecture for the course Sociology of Sexuality. Later, the university apologized for inviting him as they were not aware of his activism. But was this apology necessary?

A few weeks ago, UvA invited pedophile-activist Nelson Maatman as a guest lecturer for one of the Sociology of Sexuality classes. After an episode of ‘Danny op straat’ in which Danny Ghosen interviews Maatman about his activism and his lecture at UvA, there was a lot of commotion with regard to his controversial opinions. In addition to that, outrage at the fact that UvA invited him, led to an apology by UvA. But was this apology really necessary? 

Nelson Maatman is a pedophile activist who is linked to multiple organizations such as Association Martijn, which was banned in 2014 but has recently appeared to be active again (Van Poppel, Verlaan, & Wetzels, 2019) and his Partij voor Naastenliefde, Vrijheid en Diversiteit (Party for Neighbourly Love, Freedom and Diversity, also known as “pedo-party” in the popular media), which aimed to maximize diversity and liberty (“Archief 2006-2010 · PNVD”, 2006). In his interview with Danny Ghosen, Maatman explains that children are now being treated like second-class citizens as they cannot decide over their own bodies. He envisions a political party that advocates eliminating the legal age of consent and legalizing the private use of child pornography. 

UvA invited Maatman to give a guest lecture for the course Sociology of Sexuality. Following the interview with Danny Ghosen, in which his activist attitude became particularly clear, UvA decided to send out an official statement, apologizing for inviting him (Universiteit van Amsterdam, 2020b). In the official statement they explained that they weren’t aware of his activism and stressed that UvA strongly disapproves of pedophilia and that having sex with children is not tolerable or justifiable under any circumstances. They also said that they would never have invited Maatman if they had been aware of his activism, and apologize for the incident. They promised to take measures to prevent anything like this from happening again. 

One of the students, Rogier van de Ven, who attended the lecture responded to this apology in an article for Folia, saying that UvA should never have apologized for inviting Maatman (Van De Ven, 2020). In his article he argues that UvA’s apology is a sign of ‘selective morality’ as they did not feel the need to apologize for analyzing literature by Marquis de Sade, a sexist and racist sadist who glorifies rape, which they did in the same course. According to Rogier, this is because De Sade is culturally accepted, whereas pedophilia is not. He goes on by making a good point that ‘when the university starts dancing to the tune of the popular opinion, it loses its critical character.’  

How do you stay critical as a university, when at the same time, you try to steer clear of controversy and critique by the popular media? Shouldn’t the university try to remain unbiased and open-minded to new, not-so-culturally accepted opinions? UvA should definitely have been aware of the background of the person they invited to give a guest lecture. They should have not only given the students a warning about the content, but also a disclaimer distancing themselves from Maatmans opinion. Therefore, in my opinion, an apology for not being aware of his activism was in place. Apologizing for inviting him, however, was not.

References

– Universiteit van Amsterdam. (2020, 13 februari). Reactie naar aanleiding van uitzending Danny op straat. Geraadpleegd op 2 maart 2020, van https://www.uva.nl/content/nieuws/nieuwsberichten/2020/02/reactie-danny-op-straat.html?1582661656455 
– Universiteit van Amsterdam. (2020c, 28 februari). Research at the UvA University of Amsterdam. Geraadpleegd op 2 maart 2020, van https://www.uva.nl/en/research/research-at-the-uva/research-at-the-uva.html
– Van De Ven, R. (2020, 17 februari). UvA had geen excuses moeten aanbieden voor uitnodigen pedo-activist. Folia. Geraadpleegd van https://www.folia.nl
– Van Poppel, L., Verlaan, D., & Wetzels, J. (2019, 9 december). Oud-leden verboden pedoclub Martijn in besloten kring verder, OM start onderzoek. RTL nieuws. Geraadpleegd van https://www.rtlnieuws.nl
– Archief 2006-2010 · PNVD. (2006). Geraadpleegd op 9 maart 2020, van https://www.pnvd.nl/archief/

 

UvA invited Nelson Maatman, pedophile-activist, to give a guest-lecture for the course Sociology of Sexuality. Later, the university apologized for inviting him as they were not aware of his activism. But was this apology necessary?

A few weeks ago, UvA invited pedophile-activist Nelson Maatman as a guest lecturer for one of the Sociology of Sexuality classes. After an episode of ‘Danny op straat’ in which Danny Ghosen interviews Maatman about his activism and his lecture at UvA, there was a lot of commotion with regard to his controversial opinions. In addition to that, outrage at the fact that UvA invited him, led to an apology by UvA. But was this apology really necessary? 

Nelson Maatman is a pedophile activist who is linked to multiple organizations such as Association Martijn, which was banned in 2014 but has recently appeared to be active again (Van Poppel, Verlaan, & Wetzels, 2019) and his Partij voor Naastenliefde, Vrijheid en Diversiteit (Party for Neighbourly Love, Freedom and Diversity, also known as “pedo-party” in the popular media), which aimed to maximize diversity and liberty (“Archief 2006-2010 · PNVD”, 2006). In his interview with Danny Ghosen, Maatman explains that children are now being treated like second-class citizens as they cannot decide over their own bodies. He envisions a political party that advocates eliminating the legal age of consent and legalizing the private use of child pornography. 

UvA invited Maatman to give a guest lecture for the course Sociology of Sexuality. Following the interview with Danny Ghosen, in which his activist attitude became particularly clear, UvA decided to send out an official statement, apologizing for inviting him (Universiteit van Amsterdam, 2020b). In the official statement they explained that they weren’t aware of his activism and stressed that UvA strongly disapproves of pedophilia and that having sex with children is not tolerable or justifiable under any circumstances. They also said that they would never have invited Maatman if they had been aware of his activism, and apologize for the incident. They promised to take measures to prevent anything like this from happening again. 

One of the students, Rogier van de Ven, who attended the lecture responded to this apology in an article for Folia, saying that UvA should never have apologized for inviting Maatman (Van De Ven, 2020). In his article he argues that UvA’s apology is a sign of ‘selective morality’ as they did not feel the need to apologize for analyzing literature by Marquis de Sade, a sexist and racist sadist who glorifies rape, which they did in the same course. According to Rogier, this is because De Sade is culturally accepted, whereas pedophilia is not. He goes on by making a good point that ‘when the university starts dancing to the tune of the popular opinion, it loses its critical character.’  

How do you stay critical as a university, when at the same time, you try to steer clear of controversy and critique by the popular media? Shouldn’t the university try to remain unbiased and open-minded to new, not-so-culturally accepted opinions? UvA should definitely have been aware of the background of the person they invited to give a guest lecture. They should have not only given the students a warning about the content, but also a disclaimer distancing themselves from Maatmans opinion. Therefore, in my opinion, an apology for not being aware of his activism was in place. Apologizing for inviting him, however, was not.

References

– Universiteit van Amsterdam. (2020, 13 februari). Reactie naar aanleiding van uitzending Danny op straat. Geraadpleegd op 2 maart 2020, van https://www.uva.nl/content/nieuws
/nieuwsberichten/2020/02/reactie-danny-op-straat.html?1582661656455 
– Universiteit van Amsterdam. (2020c, 28 februari). Research at the UvA University of Amsterdam. Geraadpleegd op 2 maart 2020, van https://www.uva.nl/en/research/
research-at-the-uva/research-at-the-uva.html
– Van De Ven, R. (2020, 17 februari). UvA had geen excuses moeten aanbieden voor uitnodigen pedo-activist. Folia. Geraadpleegd van https://www.folia.nl
– Van Poppel, L., Verlaan, D., & Wetzels, J. (2019, 9 december). Oud-leden verboden pedoclub Martijn in besloten kring verder, OM start onderzoek. RTL nieuws. Geraadpleegd van https://www.rtlnieuws.nl
– Archief 2006-2010 · PNVD. (2006). Geraadpleegd op 9 maart 2020, van https://www.pnvd.nl/archief/

 

Quinty Mars

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