The University of Groningen (UG) and Hanze UAS Groningen have endorsed the advice of the Accreditation Committee for the assessment of student organizations, and are denying the Vindicat atque Polit student association accreditation. The reason for this is that measures taken last year have failed to ensure the required changes to the culture within the association. The Board of the University of Groningen and the Executive Board of Hanze UAS Groningen have decided not to pay committee grants to Vindicate this academic year and not to invite Vindicat to official events.
Unfortunately, the Accreditation Committee for the assessment of student organizations saw no evidence of support for changing the culture of the association, despite the apparent willingness voiced in the last report. After more than a year, the culture within the association has changed very little:
there is no sense of urgency in dealing with the excessive use of alcohol among Vindicat members; in addition, the organisers of the introduction failed to set a good example (no/low alcohol policy);
internal surveys indicate that a substantial number of members
consider the culture at Vindicat to be unsafe; alcohol still seems to play a major role within the association;
when incidents occur, the association still observes its own internal regulations instead of complying with the agreed accreditation standards; there is too little
transparency, even after serious incidents have taken place.
The committee acknowledges that certain steps have been taken
with regard to supervision/monitoring: for example, an annual members’ survey has been introduced and information meetings were held during the general introduction to discuss matters such as diversity and changes in culture. A meeting with senior members of the association was also arranged.
Hanze UAS Groningen and the UG endorse the conclusions of the Accreditation Committee, and have made the following decisions:
committee grants will not be paid (from the Graduation Fund) in the 2018/19 academic year;
Vindicat will not be invited to official events in 2018/19;
ties with Vindicat will not be cut altogether. The Boards hope that Vindicat will treat the need for a change in its culture with the urgency it deserves so that it can be nominated for re-accreditation before the start of the 2019/2020 academic year;
this decision will be published on the websites of the UG and Hanze UAS.
Paul van der Wijk, member of the Executive Board of Hanze UAS: ‘We are extremely disappointed to see that despite the efforts and experiences of the last 12 months, insufficient progress has been made in changing the culture within Vindicat.’Rector Magnificus Elmer Sterken of the UG: ‘We took this decision on the basis of incidents, as well as the association's apparent unwillingness to change its culture. This change is vital if we are to create a safe and healthy student community in Groningen.’
As things stand, the measures will apply until 1 September 2019. The ball is now firmly in Vindicat's court; if they believe that they have made sufficient progress in changing the culture within the association, they may be eligible for re-accreditation.
In Autumn 2016, certain incidents highlighted a need for cultural changes in a number of student associations. From a drinking culture to a culture that encourages academic development, and from initiation rituals to a proper introduction. A system of accreditation for student associations was set up. In July 2017, the Accreditation Committee for the assessment of student organizations published a report on Vindicat. The UG and Hanze UAS decided to give Vindicat accreditation for one further year until August 2018, under certain conditions.
The UG and Hanze UAS allocate grants from the Graduation Fund to students with a committee or participation council position, students suffering study delay due to extraordinary family-related or other circumstances, or students competing in top-level sport. A student committee/board member can claim a grant for committee work for a maximum of 6 months. A grant month is set at € 444.20. The maximum amount is thus € 2,665 per person, in this case a total amount of € 33,315 (9 committee members).
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