The Minister says this in an answer to Parliamentary questions from D66 MP Paul van Meenen. It is up to the university to determine how they involve the University Council in the decision-making process regarding the establishment of a campus in the Chinese city, she says.
At the end of May, a delegation of 48 RUG employees travelled to China. It was partly a work visit to discuss the course programmes that will start in 2019. But the trip also seemed to be intended to take away any resistance against the Yantai plans among students and employees in the participation councils. This summer, they need to approve the plans for the campus.
Van Meenen wanted to know whether the Minister felt the trip was a desirable means of influencing the University Council. Bussemaker says that the university is free to decide how to involve the council in the Yantai plans.
The Minister feels that the RUG is also free to determine how much money it spends on the preparations for the China campus. As long as the university does not use tax money and reports on the separation of public and private funds in a transparent manner. ‘I have no reason to assume that the manner in which private means are spent by the RUG influences the working conditions at the RUG’, Bussemaker says.
The university refuses to say how much the trip to Yantai cost exactly at this time. The sums are announced in the 2017 annual report. Prior calculations of the UK showed that the trip would have cost about 70,000 euros.
According to the university, the preparation costs in the period of January up to September 2017 have been budgeted at 700,000 euros, which includes the Yantai trip.
In 2015, the preparation costs were no less than 750,000 euros. If the 2017 budget is added to this, then this totals over 1.4 million euros. The preparation costs for 2016 still need to be added to this, but the university also refuses to announce these. This sum is published in the 2016 annual report that is due to appear shortly.
Van Meenen has not been able to react to the Minister’s answers; he had not taken note of the document yet.