Dinie Bouwman with the personnel faction is resolute: either the board of directors guarantees there will be no forced terminations, or her faction refused to issue a positive recommendation about the reorganisation of the Kernfysisch Versneller Institute – Centre for Advanced Radiation Technology (KVI-CART). Board president Jouke de Vries was unable to provide that guarantee, upon which a large majority of the university council said they needed more information in order to formulate a recommendation.
It was a repeat of what happened during the council meeting in January, when the reorganisation announcement was on the agenda as well. The council wanted more insight into the financial situation at the KVI-CART, because the institute staff said it was different from what the RUG board said it was. The exact involvement of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) and the UMCG also remained unclear. They might be willing to take over staff and material from the institute, but no concrete agreements have been reached.
The council has since received the financial information. The institute is indeed in the red, but that’s mainly due investments that have been made in particle accelerator AGOR – partially at the insistence of the RUG board. Moreover, the budget looked like it would be in the black in the future, Dirk-Jan Scheffers with the personnel faction concluded. ‘It doesn’t seem like reorganisation is necessary to solve the current financial problems.’
The UMCG won’t give a definitive answer about taking over the research groups or the particle accelerator. And while FSE can take over the astrophysics group, they refuse to promise to do the same for the nuclear physics. For the staff delegates and most of the students on the council – only De Vrije Student is positive about the need for reorganisation – that means too many things are left up in the air. They want to hold off until the UMCG publishes a research report and want ‘a realistic scenario about what we’re heading towards’, according to Bouwman.
Board of directors vice president Jan de Jeu called the current situation ‘kind of a catch-22’. The council won’t issue a positive recommendation on the reorganisation until they receive further information, but De Jeu says this information can’t be gathered until the process of reorganisation has been started.
In order to research the future of the KVI-CART, the board of directors wants the announcement approved as soon as possible. By continuing to refuse to issue a positive recommendation, the council is ‘taking on the role of the board’, says president De Vries. ‘Sure, the university council is there to monitor us, but they shouldn’t try to manage the university themselves.’
‘Not wasting money’
‘It clear that we have a difference in opinion’, Bouwman responded. ‘We don’t think the situation is dire enough to deviate from the promises made to the KVI-CART in the strategic plan of 2016. They’re not wasting money; they’re doing good work.’
Next month, when the council has had a chance to read the UMCG report, the reorganisation announcement will be on the agenda again.