Colleagues still fighting for Joost Herman’s rehabilitation

Colleagues still fighting for Joost Herman’s rehabilitation

More than a month after former professor Joost Herman was dismissed definitively, both current and former employees are still bristling at the ‘inhumane treatment’ he received at the hands of the UG. The latest person to object is former vice dean Frans Rutten.
9 December om 10:28 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 9 December 2020
om 10:28 uur.
December 9 at 10:28 AM.
Last modified on December 9, 2020
at 10:28 AM.

Door Giulia Fabrizi

9 December om 10:28 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 9 December 2020
om 10:28 uur.

By Giulia Fabrizi

December 9 at 10:28 AM.
Last modified on December 9, 2020
at 10:28 AM.

Giulia Fabrizi

Nieuwscoördinator Volledig bio » News coordinator Full bio »

Professor Jacques Zeelen attended a hearing at the Leeuwarden court and subsequently penned an open letter to UKrant, and retired professors Hans Renner and Peter M.E. Volten both expressed their support. Now, former vice dean of the arts and economics and business faculties conveys his outrage at the university’s actions.

Rutten wrote a letter to Jacques Zeelen and sent a copy to the board of directors, praising Zeelen for the way he ‘expressed his disgust with the way the UG persecuted its own professor’.

Culpable

In addition to being vice dean, Rutten was also the co-founder of the NOHA programme, and he understands that when Herman created the private foundation NOHA Groningen and used it to divert European funds from the NOHA programme, his actions were culpable.

But Rutten feels the way the UG has publicly pilloried Herman, taken away his opportunity to defend himself, taken away his health benefits when he is coping with a burn-out, and is demanding he pay back the funds that have in fact been spend on the NOHA programme (1.2 million euros), is disproportionate.

Questions

The affair raises several questions for him. Why didn’t anyone on the arts faculty board take a careful and composed look at what exactly was going on, rather than running to the board and sounding the alarm? How did the same thing happen at the board, resulting in immediate legal steps and public accusations?

These are questions that the Leeuwarden court also asked, remarks Rutten. ‘Contrary to what the magistrate said, the court acknowledges that Herman’s missteps were made in a particular context, and that it would be unfair and unreasonable to not dismiss him without a transition payment.’

Shared

Rutten says his letter, which he wrote on November 4 and added onto on November 7 and December 2, has been shared many times among university colleagues. ‘Apparently the letter has been disseminated – with my express permission, of course – quite a bit at the UG; I have been receiving spontaneous support from various corners, up to the highest levels of the organisation.’

Rutten quotes several of these messages of support, which range from ‘It’s great that the UG employees get to read your work’ to ‘Your words perfectly encapsulate how so many of us feel about this whole thing’.

The support has strengthened Rutten, and in his final words to Zeelen, he calls on him to continue his defence of Herman. ‘The damage that has been done to him personally and at the UG, is excessive enough.’

Nederlands

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