DAG: Rector’s farewell party too expensive

Student party Democratic Academy Groningen (DAG) feels the RUG is spending way too much money on a leaving party for rector magnificus Elmer Sterken. The university has budgeted 70,000 euro for the shindig.
By Rob Siebelink / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

Sterken served as rector for eight years and is leaving in June. DAG, who hold two seats on the university council, say they aren’t opposed to a party. ‘But if managers want to be seen to support their staff and students, they might want to practise some restraint.’

‘In this age of cutbacks and lecturers experiencing extreme stress, there must be a better way to spend 70,000 euro. Instead, the board of directors has decided to throw itself a party.’


DAG refers to a farewell reception for a president at ROC Aventus (regional education centre) held a few years ago, which cost almost 25,000 euro. Former minister of education Marja van Bijsterveld called this ‘too big of an expenditure’ after parliamentary questioning on the topic.

‘Public funds should be spent on the primary educational process as much as possible.’

RUG president Sibrand Poppema’s going away party last year cost the RUG 40,000 euro, says DAG: ‘So in less than a year, the University of Groningen has spent 110,000 euro in public funds on farewell parties for their own executives.’


According to the RUG, the comparison that DAG is making is false. They say Sterken’s farewell party is more than just a ceremony at the Martini church, and that it’s part of the celebrations from June 5-15, when the RUG is celebrating its 405th anniversary.

‘We’re using that 70,000 euro for a fabulous and dignified goodbye party for the rector, as part of our anniversary celebrations. Everyone is welcome to join: university representatives from all over the country, students, staff, and Stadjers’, says RUG spokesperson Jorien Bakker.


30 April 2019 | 7-5-2019, 11:08