Letter to Rectors of Polish Universities

Members of the European Parliament
Intergroup on LGBTI Rights

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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