Mayor threatens to shut down Vindicat
Sikkom published a piece on this on Tuesday. The website requested all the communication between Vindicat and the municipality of Groningen from the past two years through the Government Information (Public Access) Act.
These documents mention a violent incident that took place during Buitenspelen, a festival that Vindicat organises every year in May. Sikkom writes that ‘a student’s arm was probably broken’, but it’s not exactly clear what happened. The incident was not reported to the police.
In accordance with agreements made with the RUG and Hanze University of Applied Science, Vindicat reported the incident to ACI, the Advice Committee for Orientation. But the association board refused to give the police the name of the suspect in the incident. ‘Partly because of that, it’s impossible for us to investigate a serious violent incident that took place within your organisation’, mayor Peter den Oudsten wrote Vindicat.
Earlier, it was made public that another incident of abuse had taken place in December of 2017, during Kermesse d’Hiver, an association party. These two incidents made mayor Den Oudsten so upset that he’s issued an administrative warning to Vindicat. If anything else goes wrong, the association runs the risk of being shut down or losing its operating permit. That would mean that club house Mutua Fides would close down: no more pub nights, parties, or other activities.
The association board urged the mayor to reconsider the warning. They said the name of the victim was withheld out of privacy concerns. ‘Because this incident wasn’t officially reported, we want to take into account the interests of other people involved in it’, Vindicat wrote in a letter to Den Oudsten. The board also felt the punishment wasn’t in line with the incidents, which caused no disruptions to the public order wasn’t at stake.
But Den Oudsten hasn’t budged. The warning stands. There can be no more incidents in or around the club house or during events organised by Vindicat until at least July.
Vindicat has been in the news regularly over the past few years because of instances of abuse and other incidents. At the start of this academic year, the RUG and Hanze severed all ties with the association, which they felt they hadn’t done enough to fix things. If the association shows improvement, they will be eligible for accreditation for the next academic year.