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University of Amsterdam will not sponsor boat at Gay Pride canal parade — The University of Amsterdam (UvA) will not sponsor a boat during Amsterdam’s Gay Pride canal parade.

Last January Laurens Buijs, a researcher and teacher at the university’s College and Graduate School for Social Sciences, started a campaign encouraging the UvA to participate in the parade by sponsoring its own boat. Doing so is necessary, Buijs says, because according to him “homosexuality is still taboo among students.”

Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade

From the 2007 Gay Pride canal parade: In the foreground the official entry of Dutch postal service TNT, and behind that one of two floats with Amsterdam city officials.
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In 2008, Laurens was employed by the Amsterdam School for Social science Research (ASSR), where he worked on a research project on anti-gay violence. The research was commissioned by the Amsterdam city council.

University president Karel van der Toorn rejected the idea for a University-sponsored boat in a letter to Laurens Buijs, saying the university does not want to ‘take sides in social issues.’

“We are behind homo-emancipation, but would rather spend our money on education and housing,” the letter, described by Buijs as ‘sympathetic,’ said.

The annual Gay Pride canal parade, which takes place in August, is one of Amsterdam’s most popular events — with tens of thousands of locals and visitors lining the canals to view dozens decorated boats carrying groups of people celebrating the GLBT lifestyle.

Many companies and institutions have sponsored boats to highlight their homo-friendly character.

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This post was last updated: Sep. 25, 2011