Accreditation at risk
Wijmenga: ‘The Vindicat board has to show leadership’
‘I think this is the time for the board to show leadership, and to make it clear that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable’, says UG rector magnificus Cisca Wijmenga.
The Vindicat members who were fined by the police last Friday night for violating corona measures, were let into the building by a member of Vindicat’s highest board.
Rector Floris Hamann confirmed a tip from other Vindicat members to Groningen blog Sikkom. ‘It’s true that a Senate official let them in. He is obviously not involved in the decision-making right now.’
The students were suspended immediately on Saturday afternoon, but the tipsters feel they should be expelled. On Monday afternoon, Hamann couldn’t say what the final punishment would be. ‘It’s only been two days, and this is not a decision you can make overnight. It will take a while.’
The group’s actions have put accreditation for the entire association at stake. After a series of serious events, Vindicat’s committee grants were taken away in 2017, and in 2018, the club was excluded from all official UG and Hanze university events.
Earlier this year, the accreditation committee was happy with the cultural change Vindicat had been making. Nevertheless, both institutes’ boards of directors decided to only accredit the association for one year, rather than three.
‘They’ll have to prove their worth again in September’, says Wijmenga. ‘The conditions say that they have to report incidents, so they’ll have to do so now, too.’
Wijmenga understands that it’s impossible to prevent everything, especially in a large association. ‘But I think it’s important to look at the actions they’ll be taking.’
Wijmenga thinks it’s a good sign that other Vindicat members went to Sikkom to tell them about the board member. ‘That’s the behaviour we hope for. We want there to be a culture in which this kind of behaviour isn’t tolerated and where members hold each other accountable.’
How does she feel about people calling for the expulsion of the members? ‘It’s not my call to make, obviously, but I think it would be a suitable punishment’, she says.
For now, it’s still unclear what exactly happened that Friday night. Around one in the morning, the police received a tip about a party taking place in the Vindicat building on the Grote Markt. It turned out there were fifteen young men there.
Next, something happened that caused the police to request backup. In the end, there were four police vehicles at the scene, including two vans. What the group of men was doing and what happened next, is still unclear.
‘I’m working on finding out’, Hamann said when asked. ‘I haven’t talked to any of the guys in person yet, so I can’t say anything about it at this time.’