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020’s Strive for Diversity and Inclusion at the UvA

Diversity and inclusion are some of the fundamental attributes that can be recognized at the University of Amsterdam and are preeminent in 020’s goals for the upcoming campaign season. With over 41,000 students, 6,000 employees, and 3,000 Ph.D. researchers at the UvA, 020 strives to encourage this diversity within the University and the student body so that we can continue to learn and appreciate the various perspectives around us.

Accordingly, 020’s contribution to this pillar has aided in various changes within the University. With the upcoming campaign season coming to a start, the UvA can be a space where diversity and inclusion can be launched further with new ideas and policies. Spotlighting previous contributions, here are some developments within the pillar 020 has achieved in the past years.

The most recent development was the FMG February focus group. Facilitated by the current student council, the focus group was centered around the topic of social safety, both on campus and during social events. Preparatory for offering solutions for inclusion, it is crucial to understand encounters of discrimination and exclusion faced within the environment. Hence, individuals who experienced firsthand accounts or observed harassment and assault were encouraged to join the focus group and discuss and share experiences.

Another issue that was approached was the policy update on the blind grading policy. Blind grading helps reduce conscious and unconscious biases against identifiers—such as race, ethnicity, sex, previous test scores, and so forth—in which exams and assignments are cleared of indicators of the students' designations beforehand. Despite the general student population's concerns about racial bias that were observed through a student survey, not all courses at the UvA employed the use of blind grading. Thus, 020’s 2022 CSR candidate, Chiara Zuber proposed the solution: “All exams are assessed using blind grading, wherever applicable” in which professors cannot see the student's name. In less than a year, this policy was implemented in the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Faculty of Law through the Canvas SpeedGrader.

The Women in Power symposia is another event that has been annually held to engage diversity. Launched in 2020 with the ‘Women in Power: Politics Edition’, 020 invited three women, Jovitta Thomas, Marit Maij, and Sandra Doevendans, all of whom pioneered in the political field to speak about their experience. In 2021, the event was once again initiated with guests Olena Sotnyk and Gauri van Gulik who spoke about female representation in politics. Most recently, in honor of International Women’s day 2022, 020 invited Nathalie Jankowska and Laura Tereno for the Women in Power: Consulting event.

Do you have proposals for ways to celebrate diversity and advocate for inclusion? Become a candidate for the 2023 student council election and let the 020 teams help you continue to maintain and advocate for diversity and inclusion at the UvA.

Women in power

FMG focus group

Blind grading

Article by Asmi Banjara

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