AN OPEN LETTER TO LEIDEN UNIVERSITY: A LEIDEN UNIVERSITY ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IS CAMPAIGNING TO DEPRIVE ME OF A JOB HERE IN THE NETHERLANDS
- Leiden University
Dr. Isabel Hoving
Prof. mr. C.J.J.M. Stolker
Rector Magnificus & Voorzitter College van Bestuur
Dear Leiden University:
I hope this finds you well.
My name is Sass Rogando Sasot, an alumnus of Leiden University College (BA, Combined Major in World Politics and Global Justice, 2014) and Leiden University (MA International Relations, 2018).
It has come to my attention that Jewellord Nem Singh, Assistant Professor in International Relations, is campaigning to deprive me of any academic job here in The Netherlands because I am a supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte. Mr Nem Singh is also a Filipino.
In a Facebook post he wrote on August 21, 2018 Nem Singh said:
"There are MANY OTHER qualified applicants, and given her reputation as a defender of a murderer president, it is unethical and immoral to let her teach and educate university students in a society that celebrates freedom, human rights, and democracy."
Those who share Nem Singh's convictions recently launched a petition calling Universiteit van Maastricht (UM) to reject my application for a teaching position. Since I already got accepted to teach this coming school year, Mr Nem Singh settled for the next step:
"...The contract was already awarded so Maastricht is unlikely to rescind on this one. The best outcome is for this petition to create awareness so they will not renew her contract."
In both instances, Mr Nem Singh's intention is very clear: To make sure that I cannot build a career in the academe here in The Netherlands because of my political beliefs.
Perhaps Mr Nem Singh isn't aware of one of our core values at Leiden University: "Throughout its history the University has always stood for freedom of spirit, thought and speech…”
It's also possible that Mr Nem Singh isn't properly acquainted with Dutch law on anti-discrimination, particularly Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution which prohibits discrimination based on political opinion. Corollary to that, Mr Nem Singh might also be unaware of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decision on Handyside v. United Kingdom.
As summarised in Handbook on European Non-Discrimination Law: “The ECtHR established that the right to freedom of expression will protect not only ‘“information” or “ideas” that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also those that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population’.”
As such, holding political beliefs, no matter how offensive, shocking, or disturbing they might be to some people, isn’t against the core values of Leiden University, Dutch law and European law. However, Mr Nem Singh’s campaign to deprive me of an academic job in the Netherlands simply because of my political beliefs runs against one of the core values of our university and the sacredness of freedom of thought and expression in Dutch society and European community.
What Mr Nem Sigh wants to do is to render me unemployable in Dutch universities because he doesn’t agree with my politics and not because my professional experience and the academic training I got from Leiden University make me unqualified. I’ve always been vocal of my support for Duterte.
From August 2015-December 2016, I worked at Leiden University as the teaching assistant of Senator Herman Schaper. Though he belonged to a political party that could be critical of Duterte, Senator Schaper welcomed me with open arms and respected my political beliefs (though he may not agree with them) and certainly he didn’t campaign for Dutch universities to reject my job application because of them. True to the ethos of our university and Dutch culture, Senator Schaper judged me on the basis of my skills and abilities and not on the extent my politics conform to his. In fact, Senator Herman often encouraged me to challenge his thoughts.
I won’t ask you fire Mr Nem Singh. Even though I’m appalled by his political hypocrisy and what’s he’s doing to me, I’ve imbibed from my years of studies at Leiden University to tolerate even intolerance.
But perhaps Leiden University should help Mr Nem Singh adjust more to our open culture here at our university, the Netherlands. He definitely needs to be thoroughly educated on what freedom of thought and speech entails.
Sass Rogando Sasot
Student Number: 1165216
 Nem Singh's FB post: https://www.facebook.com/jtnemsingh/posts/541301583101
Letter with screenshots of Mr Nem Singh's campaign on Facebook:
We, the undersigned, support Sass Rogando Sasot's call on Leiden University to help Mr Jewellord Nem Singh, Assistant Professor in Internatoinal Relataions, to adjust more to the open culture at Leiden University and the Netherlands. We agree that Mr Nem Sing definitely needs to be thoroughly educated on what freedom of thought and speech entails, especially on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decision on Handyside v. United Kingdom. As summarised in Handbook on European Non-Discrimination Law: “The ECtHR established that the right to freedom of expression will protect not only ‘“information” or “ideas” that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also those that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population’.”
The AN OPEN LETTER TO LEIDEN UNIVERSITY: A LEIDEN UNIVERSITY ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IS CAMPAIGNING TO DEPRIVE ME OF A JOB HERE IN THE NETHERLANDS petition to Leiden University was written by Sass Rogando Sasot and is in the category Freedom of Speech at GoPetition.