Around fifty PhD candidates at the UCMG have been told they need to leave their offices at Bloemsingel 1 by July 1. The coffee machines have already been removed from the building. In the meantime, their new offices are still full of beds.
Business operations manager Johan de Jong with the Medical Imaging Centre (MIC), the department in charge of the PhDs, says the way in which the UMCG’s construction and facilities department is treating them is ‘unacceptable’.
The PhDs should be focusing on their research, he says. ‘They shouldn’t be distracted by coffee machines disappearing, locks being changed, or people constantly walking in to ask when they’re moving.’
It’s causing the PhDs stress, he says. ‘It’s no way to treat people.’
He says the fact that all coffee machines have been removed from the building, to the PhDs’ dismay, is ‘unacceptable’. He demands the immediate return of a machine.
Until a few years ago, the building at Bloemsingel 1 housed research agency Lifelines. The UMCG’s IT department also had offices there, until they made way for the PhDs from the departments of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging and radiology, approximately six months ago.
As soon as the PhDs leave, the building will be renovated and expanded into the new accommodation for the University College Groningen. The building is now owned by the Academisch Ziekenhuis Groningen. Ownership will transfer to the UG on July 1.
He knew from the beginning that the accommodation would be temporary, says De Jong. But he wasn’t told about new offices until last week: the fourth floor at the Central Medical Complex, which used to house the medical library. ‘A great space’, says De Jong. There’s just one problem: it’s currently being used to store beds.
De Jong says the people behind the scenes are responsible for figuring out where those beds are supposed to go. As long as he gets told when the building is ready. ‘We then need time to move. But we will be prioritising deadlines or other things PhD candidates have to do.’ In other words: he decides when the PhDs are leaving, not the construction and facilities department.
Not kicking anyone out
‘They’re not going anywhere if they don’t have new offices to move into’, says De Jong. ‘I won’t leave until I have somewhere else to go. It’s that simple.’ I don’t care what anyone says, I’m not kicking anyone out.’
The UMCG says that completion of the building ‘is being done in consultation with people at the UG’ and the move ‘will be finished during the month of July’.