RUG president Sibrand Poppema stated this during the University Council meeting on Thursday. According the university director, additional supervision is the logical result for associations who ‘shirk the standards’.
Together with the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, the RUG drew up a code of conduct for the introduction periods and sent it to the student associations this month. Associations who sign the code promise to create a safe and familiar environment for students, to denounce violence, intimidation and discrimination and to report incidents to the university. However, signing the code is not mandatory.
Poppema has not yet received any signals pointing to associations that do not want to sign the code. ‘Should this be the case, however, then we need to think about the consequences thereof’, he said.
Among other things, the code ends the confidentiality imposed on prospective members by some of the associations on the content of the introduction. Physical or mental violence is also prohibited and association boards are obliged to report matters to the police if there is cause to do so. The university board can also report incidents to the police.
‘What I don’t want happening are things like humiliation. I consider that to be the essence of hazing’, Poppema told the council on Thursday. ‘I absolutely don’t want to see that and we are not going to allow it any more. Any reports of this will have immediate consequences.’
The Personnel Faction wonders whether the code of conduct will result in anything. ‘I have my doubts about this’, group chairman Bart Beijer said. Prior regulations also had little effect, he says. ‘Why would this be any different now?’
Beijer wonders among other things whether the confidential advisers that the associations have to appoint according to the code will have any effect. His group puts more faith in an external confidential adviser where students and parents can go with a complaint.
‘I’m not saying that this will fix everything’, Poppema responded. ‘But by having the associations sign this code every year and having them go through an accreditation process every three years, there is less of a chance of things slipping back to the old situation over the years.’
The RUG president thinks that the code will have an effect, because the board members will have to sign it and are liable. ‘However, we are not changing the associations. We can only impose rules. That internal change has to come from them’, he says.
It is expected that the report of the accreditation committee investigating the culture at student association Vindicat will be released this month. Poppema does not know when this report will come out: ‘Standards and values, that’s what accreditation is about. That’s quite difficult. I hope to say more about it next week, but I’m not sure.’