The UG can fire social safety expert Susanne Täuber. She announced the judge’s verdict herself on Wednesday afternoon during a protest rally that was in part meant to support her.
The case went to court a few weeks ago. Täuber says her dismissal is a signal from the university to the academic community about what can happen if you speak up.
In a speech on the steps of the Academy building, she urged the dozens of protesters (both staff and students of the UG) to continue their fight against intimidation and social unsafety. ‘This is a hurdle race.’
‘It’s not even about me’, she told UKrant. ‘I feel worse for the people who are here today, and for my students.’ She says it’s ironic she’s being fired on International Women’s Day. ‘Can you believe it?’
People have also been protesting on Twitter these past few days. Staff and students of the UG shared their concerns using the hashtag #AmINext. The student strike on Wednesday, which is also International Women’s Day, was also related to the Täuber issue.
The university doesn’t want to react to the verdict. ‘We have heard as well that the employment agreement is being terminated’, says UG spokesperson Anja Hulshof. ‘We haven’t read the verdict ourselves yet.’
She declined to comment further on the matter. ‘The judge has spoken and we won’t go into personal matters.’
Damaged working relationship
The university wants to fire Täuber because of a damaged working relationship, claiming that the social safety expert is difficult to work with.
Täuber says she was discriminated against when it came to promotions and that the Faculty of Economics and Business wants to silence her after she published several critical articles. Earlier, she revealed how the Rosalind Franklin programme at the UG, which aims at improving women’s position at the university, actually works against women in some cases.
Solidarity with Susanne, says professor of bacterial cell biology Dirk-Jan Scheffers, who works at the Faculty of Science and Engineering. ‘I know Susanne Täuber as a very good, hard-working and devoted colleague from […] work on the university council.’
‘Should I be afraid to lose my job for speaking out against discrimination, harassment, and unacceptable behaviour?’ asks Leonie de Jonge, a well-known researcher of extreme-right ideologies at the arts department.
Campus Fryslân researcher Efe Cengiz says the UG has a problem with inappropriate behaviour. ‘Someone will be next’, he warns. ‘Who will look out for us if we don’t look out for each other?’
Steven Arisz with the University of Amsterdam points out that the report from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences on social safety recommends universities employ academics with expert knowledge on the subject. ‘If anyone possesses that knowledge, it’s Susanne Täuber. For that reason alone, the UG shouldn’t fire her.’