The Supervisory Board of the University of Groningen has asked Leendert Klaassen to conduct an independent investigation into the time reporting of hours dedicated to preparations for transnational education in Yantai (China).
At the same time, the Inspectorate of Education will be conducting an investigation into the provenance of some of the private funds of the UG. In connection with this, the Inspectorate has asked the Supervisory Board to investigate the accounting of the work done for the Yantai initiative. The UG is pleased that this investigation is forthcoming, as this will enable a clear assessment of the financing of the costs involved in the Yantai project. The University Council, the Supervisory Board and the Board of the University will also carry out an investigation into the Yantai project preparations. During these investigations, the UG will not respond in detail, so as not to influence the investigations.
In 2015, the UG already took the initiative to ask the Inspectorate for advice and guidelines on how to account for the financing of the preparation costs of the Yantai project. This request was intended precisely to avert any appearance of irregularities. The request was in line with a 2015 call, by the Minister of Education in response to an Inspectorate report on the private activities of government-funded educational institutions, for more clarity in these regulations.
In 2017, the Inspectorate indicated its intentions to investigate whether the private funding made known at the time was indeed of private provenance. Upon publication of the University's 2015 Annual Financial Statement, the Inspectorate held extensive consultations with the UG to assess the provenance of the private funds. The positive outcome of these consultations was reported to the Minister in an official report dated 9 August 2017.
We take questions from the UG community about accounting for the time investment seriously. This is why we are commissioning further investigation of the reports that time has been spent on preparations for Yantai which should still be charged to private funds. The Supervisory Board will be the commissioning party for this investigation as members of the Board of the University have also declared time working on the Yantai project.
Klaassen hopes ‘to enter into dialogue with those involved in the university community soon’. An opportunity for feedback will be set up for UG staff as part of the investigation.
Leendert Klaassen has been Acting Mayor of the new Westerwolde municipality since 1 January 2018. Previously, he was Mayor of Midwolda and Zuidhorn, Secretary General of the Senate, member of the executive board of the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO), and president of the executive board of Stenden University until the end of 2017.
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