Confidential adviser once again received more reports of inappropriate behaviour

The confidential adviser received 189 reports last year, a significant increase compared to the 138 in 2021. This was mainly due to the number of reports of inappropriate behaviour, which increased for the second year in a row, from 71 reports in 2021 to 110 in 2022.

According to the report by confidential adviser Marjolein Renker, while there is a ‘significant increase in reports in general,’ she believes it is too early to speak of a trend. The number of reports isn’t high enough compared to the total number of students (34,000) and employees (5,580).

Internships and fieldwork

Renker describes several noteworthy issues. Complaints from students and internship supervisors about unwanted behavior during internships, fieldwork, and practical training are difficult to address.

The problem lies in the fact that it is often unclear who is responsible for the (social) safety of the student: the university or the employer? The university relies on employers for internships and fieldwork, but these are mandatory components of study programmes. Meanwhile, it seems that no one really feels responsible, and the student often has to figure it out on their own, according to Renker.

Since existing safety procedures for this type of work often do not focus on social safety and inappropriate behavior, she recommends developing new safety procedures.

Lack of transparency

Renker also notes that employees relatively often report a lack of transparency during recruitment and selection processes.

Reports may involve adding new criteria during the selection process, not inviting candidates who meet the criteria, or conducting interviews in a rude manner.

Students also report a lack of transparency, but in the context of examination committees. According to the report, there are significant differences ‘in operation and transparency between the exam committees of faculties/programmes in objections and settlement discussions’.

Although exam committees are independent bodies that aren’t accountable to a faculty or complainant, Renker suggests that it would be beneficial to examine possible improvements in transparency and consistent actions of these committees.

Second confidential adviser

Other things have changed over the past year, as well. Renker observed last year that there was insufficient manpower at the confidential adviser’s office to work actively and preventively. This problem may be addressed with the appointment of a second confidential adviser as of October 1.


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