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Independent investigation into UGCE

The UG board of directors has called for an independent investigation into the social safety at the University of Groningen Centre of Entrepreneurship (UGCE).

The board’s Hans Biemans announced the decision during a university council meeting on Thursday. The investigation follows an article that UKrant published last week, in which former UGCE staff members discussed the unsafe working conditions at the centre. They say people exhibited intimidating and aggressive behaviour, yelling at and bullying employees.

UKrant’s interviews with staff members revealed that several people reported these instances to the UG’s confidential adviser. But these complaints haven’t led to any changes so far.

Financing

On Thursday, the university council discussed the UGCE budget. The centre focuses on promoting and researching entrepreneurship. It is part of the University College Groningen. Late last year, the council refused to sign off on a 750,000 euro budget, because it was unclear what the money was being used for.

The council did agree to a six-month budget of 375,000 euros on the condition that the centre presented a solid plan for the future. That plan has been written: the research and educational activities should fall under the Faculty of Economics and Business, while the VentureLab activities (which includes courses in entrepreneurship) would fall under a separate foundation.

Unimpressed

But the council remained unimpressed. They feel the budget is too large and the plan too simple. The preparations are going too slowly and important details, such as the form of administration the foundation will take, haven’t been elaborated on.

The council therefore refuses to agree to another 375,000 euros for the next six months. The plan for research and educational activities will be executed, as well as meetings with the faculties who will potentially take over those activities. The council will receive an update in August. A complete plan is expected by October.

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