Why are we as a faculty not more transparent about socially unsafe situations within the faculty? Why do employees and students hear information about our own faculty through the media? Why wasn’t there an independent external investigation started after the Argos broadcast and why did this not take place immediately after the initial report? Why don't the faculty board and directors explicitly speak out against inappropriate behaviour?
These questions were discussed during the well-attended meeting on social safety within our faculty, which was organised last Monday in response to recent reporting by Argos. All questions and responses showed the sincere commitment of employees and students to our faculty. Together we have the same goal: creating a psychologically, physically and socially safe environment for everyone.
During the meeting we tried to answer the questions as best as we could. We have stated that we do not accept any form of inappropriate behaviour in our faculty. We are aware that we have not emphasised it enough in recent communications. Therefore, we want to stress that we find the professor's behaviour, which was described in the first Argos broadcast on September 16, unacceptable. We are committed to a safe environment for all students and employees and take measures when there is inappropriate behaviour.
The measures we take depend on various factors. This is done carefully, taking into account our responsibility to the various parties. We understand that the employees and students in our faculty feel insufficiently informed. We want to improve this, although we often cannot share all available information about specific cases, due to the legal basis. However, this does not change the fact that we can and must be more transparent about procedures, consequences of behaviour and measures that we (can) take. We are going to change that.
In future communications about specific cases, we will be as transparent as possible, taking into account the interests and privacy of all parties. In addition, we ask the Executive Board and the confidential advisors to describe completed reports anonymously, to show how reports are handled, which factors play a role in imposing appropriate measures and which considerations are made. At the same time, we learn from these cases to examine our organisation and the theme of social safety. In the context of transparent communication, we would like to let you know that we expect an article about social safety in the Gelderlander this week. The content of the article is currently unknown to us.
Based on recent information, the university's ombudsperson has advised to launch an independent investigation into the case described in the Argos broadcast on September 16. We take this advice very seriously. We are currently weighing all available information, including the advice of the ombudsperson, to make a right decision. A careful process is of great importance. This means that we first hear and inform everyone involved before we can communicate about this more broadly within the faculty.
During the meeting, we were also asked why employees had not heard from the individual directors in the past week. To date, we have consciously picked up communication about social safety at faculty level to ensure clear communication. It also became clear to us at the meeting that this was not understood in this way within the faculty. We regret this. We have a group of very committed and passionate directors in the faculty, with a heart for the faculty and the people who work and study here. All directors have taken note of the letter to the Executive Board, which is included in this weekly, and agree that transgressive behaviour within the faculty is not accepted. For this reason, this message to all employees and students has been signed not only by the faculty board, but also by all directors within our faculty.
Finally, we continue to call for discussions with each other about undesirable behaviour. A programme has been set up to ensure social safety within the faculty. This programme started in June 2023 and is mainly aimed at the prevention of transgressive behaviour. As a faculty, we have taken the lead in this. For example, all managers within the faculty have been asked to follow an e-learning course about social safety and the role of the manager before December 1, 2023.
If you would like to talk to someone about this subject, you can always contact one of the confidential advisors or us. Social safety is at the top of our strategic agenda. Together we can make the necessary cultural change and make our faculty an even better place to work and study.
A follow-up session for all employees and students of our faculty has been planned in a few weeks. The date of the meeting will be communicated soon via the Weekly Update. During this meeting, we will also address questions that arise within the faculty and answer them as best as possible. We hope to see you there.
We never accept transgressive behaviour. We are there for you.
With kind regards,
Evelyn Kroesbergen, Rob van Lier, Bert Steenbergen, Suzanne Boelens, Peter Berentsen, Wouter Brok, Franca Brugman, Mariska Kleemans, Tibor Bosse, Rob Holland, Johan Kwisthout, James McQueen, Ron Scholte, Ellen Verbakel, Edwin de Jong, Debby Beckers, Lida Derks, Els Rommes, Jan-Wilm Delicat.