‘Investigation into RUG and Shell’

Student party DAG will investigate the relationship between the RUG and the fossil fuel industry.
By Peter Keizer / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

Together with GroenLinks’ youth organisation Dwars and action committee Fossielvrij, the party will investigate the influence that companies such as RWE, GasTerra, and Shell have on the university. ‘How can the RUG guarantee an independent educational and research position when surrounded by these fossil fuel giants?’, DAG wonders.

In a press release, the party also refers to the Energy Academy Europe, an institute at the RUG that is focused on the energy transition. ‘But it’s just for show’, according to DAG. ‘There is also what appears to be a conflict of interest concerning professor Rien Herben and professor by special appointment Catrinus Jepma. The former was appointed professor of geo energy at the RUG after a 30 year career in the fossil fuel industry. And the latter said in an interview with De Groene Amsterdammer that it was his job to “improve the Dutch gas industry’s position in the world”‘, according to the party.

DAG also claims to have documents that show that students of communication and information science were required to do a case study for GasTerra. The assignment read: ‘Come up with a plan to restore support for gas extraction.’

DAG has previously written blog posts

about the professors and the Energy Academy, in which they posed many questions about the conflict of interest. So far, the party has not been able to substantiate the claims. Now, DAG wants to use the Government Information (Public Access) Act to gain access to the correspondence between the university and fossil fuel companies. ‘We just want some transparency concerning their relationship with the fossil fuel industry’, says Jesse Havinga at DAG.

In 2014, Fahah Al-Abdul Kareem of oil company Saudi Aramco handed a 10,000 dollar cheque to RUG president Sibrand Poppema, to be used for the Energy Academy.

Image: DAG

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