Groningen city council is fed up; Vindicat’s behaviour potentially affects all associations

Vindicat members storming a bus after the Vindicat party Buitenspelen will potentially have consequences for all student associations in the city. The Groningen city council wants to create a list of options to ‘discipline student associations’.

During a meeting on the Vindicat party Buitenspelen last Wednesday, a majority of the council voted in favour of creating what they call an ‘escalation scale’. The city council wants Groningen mayor Koen Schuiling to create a list of all the options the city has at its disposal to ‘discipline student associations’ when they misbehave.

Some of these options include stricter event licences, stricter monitoring of liquor and catering licences, (temporarily) suspend liquor and catering licences, and (temporarily) shutting down the association premises.

Disturbances

Cause for the debate and vote were the disturbances after the Vindicat party Buitenspelen, which was attended by 1,900 students.

After the party at Kardinge, hundreds of students stormed several Qbuzz buses while smoking, drinking, and forgoing face masks. The bus company says both bus drivers and other passengers felt intimidated by the Vindicat members.

A day after the incident, Vindicat apologised. The association also met with the city, the educational institutes, and the police. After this meeting, mayor Koen Schuiling cancelled a large sailing event and the accompanying party that were scheduled to take place at Kaap Hoorn.

Step further

In a letter to the city council, mayor Schuiling wants to take it a step further. He wonders if the city should even be granting event permits to student associations anymore.

‘We have to ask ourselves whether we want student associations organising events in public spaces when only association members are allowed at these events. After all, the associations can make use of their club houses’, Schuiling writes.

Stricter conditions

Whether the mayor will actually forbid events outside association premises is unclear. In the letter, Schuiling says he’s considering it, just as he’s considering setting stricter conditions for permits.

The city wonders if the associations’ activity committees are competent enough to organise events for a large number of people.

‘We’ll be meeting with the boards of student associations to discuss the possibility of compelling them to hire professional event organisers for large or medium events or enforcing additional obligations concerning mobility and transport’, the mayor said.

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