Parliament questions Yantai

D66 has asked Parliamentary questions about the trip to Yantai the RUG organised for its University Council members.
By Peter Keizer / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

MP Paul van Meenen wants outgoing education minister Bussemaker’s opinion on the trip to the Chinese city – where the RUG wants to set up a branch campus – organised by the university for its Council members.

‘Do you think this is an acceptable form of influencing the University Council?’, Van Meenen asked Bussemaker. He also wanted to know how much the trip has cost.

End May, a delegation of 48 RUG employees travelled to China. It was partially a work visit to reach agreements on which programmes should be taught there starting in 2019. But the trip also seems to be aimed at dispelling the resistance among students and staff on the co-determination boards. This summer, they will be asked to consent to the plans for the campus.

‘I think it’s clear from both my questions and my stance during the debate that I am critical about this whole undertaking’, Van Meenen said. ‘I won’t be able to evaluate the trip until the minister answers my questions.’

Costs

Van Meenen also wants the minister to shed light on the preparation costs for the future campus, which appear to have reached two million euros. The university has so far refused to publish the exact numbers.

‘Do you feel this is a justifiable way of spending community money meant to bolster research and education? How do you feel about these expenditures in light of the increasing number of reports concerning poor working conditions at the RUG?’, the MP asked the minister.

The preparations, which include the May trip, are being paid for through private funds: revenue from face-to-face education and research, for example.

Academic freedom

The politician also wanted to know if the minister has been in contact with the university about the concerns the Lower House has in relation to, among other things, academic freedom at the potential campus.

Last Tuesday, the Upper House passed a legislative change that will enable the founding of the campus in Yantai. However, the senators did remark that a foreign branch campus can only be set up if academic freedom and human rights can be guaranteed.

Nederlands

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