Dijkhuis vs. DUO: 1-0

Tessa Dijkhuis (19) won her lawsuit against DUO on Wednesday. The judge ruled that the organisation had unjustly unenrolled her from the medical programme. But DUO is considering appealing the decision. In the meantime, Dijkhuis has not yet re-enrolled for her first school year.
By Thereza Langeler / Translation by Traci White

‘This morning, I was so happy’, Tessa Dijkhuis says. ‘But since then, that feeling has kind of subsided.’ The would-be student was accepted into the medical programme, but she did not complete the final step of the online registration process in time. As such, DUO unenrolled her.

Dijkhuis was unwilling to accept that, and she chose to file a lawsuit. ‘I was scared to death’, she says. ‘But it has been a dream of mine to study medicine for such a long time that I couldn’t just let it slip through my fingers.’

On Wednesday, the courts found in her favour: DUO must give Dijkhuis the chance to finalise the enrolment procedure, according to the judge.

Still not enrolled

After the judge’s ruling, Dijkhuis thought that all the obstacles in her way had been clears. But that turned out not to be the case: she still cannot finalise her enrolment. ‘The problem is that the ruling did not require that DUO enable me to finalise it today’, Dijkhuis explains. ‘Because the academic year has not officially begun, they can still take their time.’

Dijkhuis’ lawyer is ‘fairly certain’ that DUO will appeal the decision, she says, which means that for the time being, her situation is unlikely to change. DUO says that they are in deliberations about the case and do not want to comment on their next move.

And Dijkhuis is left in limbo for now. She had not even dared to hope that she would win the case. ‘It’s such a complex matter, and DUO’s rule and regulations are pretty air tight.’

Back up plan

The decision was based in part on the fact that DUO has responded forgivingly in other instances of students making mistakes during the enrolment process. ‘If you accidently unenrol yourself from studies, for example, there is a clause that lets you undo that. But for my case – confirmation of enrolment – that was apparently not an option.’

Now, all Dijkhuis can do is wait. In the meantime, she has come up with a back up plan: she could also study biology and medical laboratory research – at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, because by the time that she was informed of her unenrolment at the medical faculty, it was already too late to sign up for another research university programme.

UPDATE: On 2 September, DUO announced they would not be contesting the decision and Dijkhuis was able to enroll in the programme.


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