Ombudsperson starts independent investigation for first time

For the first time, UG ombudsperson Carolijn Winnubst will be starting an independent investigation into a matter at the university. This was announced on Thursday, when the university council was discussing Winnubst’s annual report. 

Since ombudsperson Winnubst started in 2021, more than a hundred people came to her with complaints, the report, which covers the period from the start to December 2022, states.  This year, she has received forty-five complaints so far. ‘Many of them are from students.’

Winnubst is also starting her first unsolicited and therefore independent investigation into a matter. ‘But I can’t say very much about it.’


For privacy reasons, the conclusions from the so-called ‘personal investigation’ that the ombudsperson starts after a complaint, cannot be made public. Council member Hans van Gestel asked if the information could be anonymised and shared after all. ‘It would allow the council to keep an eye on things.’

The response from the board of directors to the ombudsperson’s unsolicited advice isn’t made public in general, either. ‘This means I don’t always know if the advice was followed’, says Van Gestel. 

Winnubst agrees more transparency would be a good thing but emphasises that no information should ever be traceable to specific people. She also thinks her position should be more high profile, and that new employees should be informed of her role.


Something the council didn’t discuss was what happened when the ombudsperson’s first annual report was published. According to regulations, the report was supposed to be sent to the board, the council, and the employee organisation simultaneously. However, the board received it ahead of the two other organisations.

What the next step for the ombudsperson looks like remains to be seen. Winnubst is currently still in her two-year trial period, which will end in September. What will happen next will be clearer in August, she said.

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