Groningen mayor Koen Schuiling has ordered that a sailing event that Vindicat was set to organise this Friday be cancelled. He made the decision after members of the club stormed buses at Kardinge last Friday. Other events have also been put on hold for now.
The mayor wrote this in a letter to the city council on Monday. According to the mayor, it’s now up to Vindicat to ‘tackle inappropriate behaviour in the future’. Schuiling says ‘the association needs a drastic cultural change’.
Since it will take time to reach ‘proper agreements’ on what this means, the mayor has decided to cancel the sailing event and its ‘subsequent big party’ that was supposed to take place Friday at Kaap Hoorn. In the case of future parties and events, the mayor says they’ll have to be assessed to see ‘if they are acceptable’.
The Vindicat board had a meeting with the city, the UG, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, and the police to explain the incident where their members stormed buses at Kardinge last Friday.
After the annual Vindicat festival ‘Buitenspelen’, which was attended by 1,900 people, several hundred students all wanted to go back to the city centre simultaneously. Even though bus company Qbuzz had been alerted, more students than had been anticipated wanted to take the bus.
Because of the bad weather, the impatient and drunk Vindicat members boarded the buses without a ticket, refused to wear face masks (which are still mandatory on public transport), smoked, carried open cans of beer, removed emergency hammers from the walls, and even opened the bus doors. The bus company says they also harassed the bus drivers and other passengers.
In the end, the police had to be called upon to get the situation under control. They also alerted the riot police (ME), which was in the city because of a football match. The ME didn’t have to intervene in the end.
Mayor Schuiling writes that all political parties ‘strongly disapprove of the anti-social behaviour’. They also discussed what actions need to be taken and how they can prevent this kind of behaviour in the future. What these actions will entail is unclear as of yet.
The mayor also wrote: ‘Vindicat has reached an agreement with Qbuzz today about compensation for the incident and about the use of buses during future events.’ None of the buses were damaged.
On Monday, the Groningen city council had a preliminary meeting about the events of Friday night and Vindicat’s inappropriate behaviour. At the request of nearly every party on the council, an extra meeting will be held on Wednesday to discuss the incident and its consequences.
On Monday evening, Vindicat published a press release on its website, saying they were ‘shocked and upset’ by the ‘misconduct displayed by members of our association’. The association offers its ‘sincerest apologies’. According to the press release, last weekend’s incident are ‘obviously the subject of intense debate at [the] association’.
The club is thinking about steps to compensate for any damage done and how to prevent any of this from happening again. They want to ‘illustrate that this kind of behaviour isn’t allowed within the association’. Following the mayor’s decision to cancel the sailing event scheduled for Friday, Vindicat has also suspended ‘all events until further notice’.
The association also says it’s ‘doing everything possible […] to identify’ the members guilty of the misconduct and to ‘take the appropriate action against them’.