Groningen Centre of Entrepreneurship (UGCE) dean Aard Groen was innocent of unwanted behaviour. However, an investigation has shown that his behaviour was ‘at odds’ with the UG’s Code of Conduct on Integrity
Various (former) employees told their story in UKrant in June of 2021, of what they felt were years of a lack of social safety at the UGCE. They had previously turned to the UG’s confidential advisor but that didn’t lead to any changes in the situation.
The board of directors then asked Nijhof and Westerhoud, an agency that specialises in unwanted behaviour, to investigate the matter. After twenty interviews, the agency concludes that the behaviour described is ‘too light’ to qualify it as ‘unwanted’.
They compared Groen’s behaviour to the definitions in, among others, the civil code and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, as well as the UG’s Zero Tolerance Statement and Code of Conduct on Integrity.
Code of conduct
At the same time, however, the investigators say ‘the UGCE director’s behaviour wasn’t always in line with his own intentions, and this has occasionally led to behaviour that was at odds with various core concepts from the UG’s Code of Conduct on Integrity’.
The investigators acknowledge that people experienced this behaviour as unwanted and that it impacted the employees’ feeling of safety. ‘The person in question has an exemplary role and is responsible for a safe and respectful work environment. The investigators are of the opinion that the person in question didn’t always successfully interpret this concept for their entire work environment.
In the meantime, Groen has reached an agreement with the UG to participate in a coaching and training track to prevent repeating the behaviour.