45 MEPs call on Polish Universities to ensure safe schooling environments for LGBTI students

To: Board of Polish Universities Rectors

President, prof. dr hab. inż. Jan Szmidt, Rektor Politechniki Warszawskiej

Bureau, Uniwersytet Warszawski

Secretary General, prof. dr hab. inż. Andrzej Kraśniewski, Politechnika Warszawska
                                                              

Brussels, 20 March 2020

Subject: Ensuring safe schooling environments in Polish Universities 

Dear Rectors,

We are writing to express our profound concern about the declarations passed by local governments in Poland, in recent months, which openly discriminate against the LGBTI community in Poland and pose an open threat to many Polish and European students currently studying at universities across the country.

Since the beginning of last year, there have been over 80 instances of regions, counties or municipalities in Poland either declaring themselves free from so-called ‘LGBT ideology’ or adopting ‘Regional Charters of Family Rights’ or key provisions from such charters. These resolutions, by calling for local governments to refrain from taking any action that encourages tolerance towards LGBTI people or providing any kind of support to the LGBTI community, contribute to aggravating an already hostile environment, thus endangering the wellbeing and safety of many Polish and European students at your universities who belong to this community.

These initiatives affect the lives of Polish students as well as those of the thousands of European students who, thanks to the Erasmus programme and other mobility schemes, live and study in your country. Such a programme was conceived and funded by the EU not only to allow young Europeans to study abroad, but also to instil in them a sense of European identity grounded in openness and acceptance of each other’s diversity. Financing our students to study abroad in an environment in which these very same values are openly denied would defeat the purpose of this programme.

Universities play a key role in shaping the next generations of Europeans, therefore, as lawmakers, we must ensure that all over Europe, these institutions constitute a safe space for all students. 

Our universities have a responsibility to uphold and promote the values of openness, tolerance and dialogue, distancing themselves from any initiative that compromises these values by encouraging discrimination and bigotry against a certain group or minority. 

Now more than ever, institutions like yours have the chance to stand for human rights and inclusiveness. We therefore call on you to publicly distance yourself from such hideous initiatives and take all the necessary measures to guarantee a safe environment in which all students can thrive intellectually and personally, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics.

We thank you for your consideration and look forward to hearing back from you.

Yours sincerely,

Heidi HAUTALA, EP Vice-President

Heléne FRITZON, Vice-President, S&D

Alice KUHNKE, Vice-President, G/EFA

Ernest URTASUN, Vice-President, G/EFA

Gwendoline DELBOS-CORFIELD, Vice-President, G/EFA

Terry REINTKE, Vice-President, G/EFA

Marc ANGEL, Co-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup

Malin BJÖRK, Vice-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup

Maria WALSH, Vice-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup

Sophie IN’T VELD, Vice-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup

Alex AGIUS SALIBA

Antoni COMÍN I OLIVERES

Brando BENIFEI

Birgit SIPPEL

Dietmar KÖSTER

Eleonora EVI 

Evelyn REGNER 

Evin INCIR

Francisco GUERREIRO

Giuseppina PICIERNO

Grace O’SULLIVAN

Irene TOLLERET

Jytte GUTELAND

Karen MELCHIOR

Karin KARLSBRO

Kim VAN SPARRENTAK 

Kira PETER-HANSEN

Manuel BOMPARD

Maria NOICHL

Marie TOUSSAINT

Mónica Silvana GONZÁLEZ

Olivier CHASTEL

Pernando BARRENA

Petra DE SUTTER

Pierre KARLESKIND

Radka MAXOVÁ

Rasmus ANDRESEN

Rosa D’AMATO 

Saskia BRICMONT

Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN

Svenja HAHN

Sylwia SPUREK

Tanja FAJON

Tilly METZ

Vera TAX

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