Independent journalism about VU Amsterdam | Since 1953
22 July 2024

& Culture

Taking selfies on campus is forbidden

‘Feeling cute, might get stopped by security later?’ According to university rules, people are not allowed to take pictures or record videos on the campus terrain. But what happens if we keep snapping pictures anyway?

If you’ve made pictures on the VU Amsterdam campus before, it may not even have occurred to you that it might be forbidden to do so. However, the VU website states: ‘If you want to take photographs or shoot a video on the VU Amsterdam campus, then you must obtain permission.’

According to Facilities (FCO), which is responsible for the rules about photography, the university is very strict about those rules. Capturing imagery without permission isn’t just forbidden for professional film crews and shady individuals hiding in the bushes, but for everyone. Even if you’re a student trying to take a selfie for your Instagram followers? “Especially then. If you’re doing something on social media, you have to fill in the forms, because the press department needs to be aware of everything”, says an FCO employee. He also explains that they don’t differentiate between inside and outdoors on campus. And it doesn’t matter who you are or where you will post the pictures. It’s simply not allowed without permission.

No consequences

How is VU Amsterdam even supposed to police the photography habits of ten thousands of people on campus, many of them eagerly sharing their lives in the digital sphere? According to FCO, it’s the security department that always has to take action when someone is taking pictures, to check if they have permission. But the security department itself has a very different perspective. If for instance a film crew is on campus, they will indeed check for permission. But a common selfie by a student? “That doesn’t concern us. Private photos aren’t a problem according to VU Amsterdam”, says the teamleader of the security department.
In short, according to FCO you can absolutely not take pictures without permission, but the security department in charge of enforcing it is following a more lenient policy.


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