No committee grants for Vindicat
Both Vindicat and the RUG announced the news on Tuesday morning. The punitive measure is the result of Vindicat not reporting an incident that took place in December of 2017. A brawl broke out at Vindicat’s club, where one association member was beat up by two other members. The student suffered a concussion, damage to his teeth, and a cut on his face.
According to the behavioural code of student associations, which Vindicat signed last summer, the incident should have been reported to the Advice Committee for Orientation (ACI). The Vindicat board failed to do this. Physical violence against members in and of itself is also against the behavioural code.
The incident became public when the Dagblad van het Noorden published an article about it last week. This led to a meeting with Vindicat, the RUG says. Together with the ACI and the Hanze, the university decided to withdraw the committee grants for the Vindicat board.
Student association board members are awarded these grants from the graduation fund, to compensate for the study delay they suffer during their board year. The Vindicat board members’ grants had been suspended in September of 2017 because of some members’ misconduct at the Sushi Mall restaurant. The board members would get their grants after all if no more incidents occurred.
‘Sadly, we found that not only did they not succeed in this, but that they also failed to report the incident’, says RUG rector magnificus Elmer Sterken. This means that the grants – 33,315 euros in total, for nine board members – will be definitely denied to the association.
The association’s accreditation process however, will continue as usual. This summer, the accreditation committee will decide whether Vindicat has worked hard enough to bring about a cultural change within the organisation.
If the committee is not convinced that they have, their accreditation will not be extended. This could mean that Vindicat loses permanent access to the graduation fund, or that they are not longer welcome at official ceremonies.
The Vindicat board maintains that they have done everything they could do to handle the incident correctly. ‘The board has cooperated with police from the start, and we supported the victim in reporting the incident’, Vindicat said in a statement on their website. ‘The offenders of the incident have been suspended from our association.’
The association is disappointed by the committee grants being cancelled, but says it understands the decision. ‘In spite of this sanction, we are still fully committed to the process of changing our culture.’