GeenStijl torpedoes diversity study, UKrant ends survey

The survey on diversity and inclusivity at Dutch universities that UKrant and eighteen other research university and university of applied sciences newspapers had set out has been terminated effective immediately.

The journalistic study on how people experience diversity and inclusivity in higher education was hijacked by the GeenStijl website last week, who published it under the headline ‘Non-Binary Pollfuck!’. The article included the link to the survey from the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

Shortly after, the links to the surveys for other universities of applied sciences and research universities were published as well. GeenStijl called on its readers to fill out the survey, which some of them fanatically did. This means the data from the survey is useless.

Five days

Research agency Newcom, which had been commissioned by the Kring van Hoofdredacteuren van Hoger Onderwijs Media, says that five days after GeenStijl published the links, people are still filling out the surveys.

As such, the research agency can’t vouch for the quality of the study, Newcom says. ‘Due to the events of last week, we can’t 100 percent guarantee that the data is reliable.’

Neutral study

Kring van Hoofdredacteuren chair Ries Agterberg said: ‘It’s a shame that GeenStijl has torpedoed this meticulous and neutral study.’ The survey was intended to find out the experiences and opinions of students and staff on diversity, says Agterberg. ‘It was never meant to enforce any kind of ideology.’

In consultation with Newcom, the surveys that were filled out before GeenStijl published its article will still be processed, and the surveys that came in after publication will be scanned for experiences at the participating institutes.


The survey is part of a large-scale study in which nearly all independent media at research universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands are participating. The Kring van Hoofdredacteuren was subsidised by the Stimuleringsfonds voor de Journalistiek, which supports research journalism in the Netherlands.

The higher education media will publish the results of the qualitative study into the institutes’ diversity policies in December.


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