Inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated at UU

There is currently a lot of media attention for the inappropriate behaviour at The Voice of Holland. It is a subject that stirs up a lot of emotions. In the Utrecht University employee survey 2021, 13% of the respondents (UU-wide) indicated that they had experienced inappropriate behaviour at one or more occasions by colleagues, managers, students or strangers. This varies from bullying and discrimination to sexual intimidation, aggressive behaviour and sometimes even violence.

Henk Kummeling, Rector Magnificus: "Inappropriate behaviour has an enormous impact. And unfortunately it still happens far too often. We realise that here at UU, too, there is much room for improvement. That is what we stand for and what we are working on. Every occurrence of inappropriate behaviour, in whatever form, is one too many and should by no means be tolerated. We want to be a university that offers a pleasant and safe environment to work and study in, for everyone. It is important that we show this together, and we as the Executive Board, together with other managers and supervisors, have a special responsibility to do so. That is why we, the Executive Board, are working on an action plan (in Dutch), of which we will discuss the progress next month in the University Council. That said, everyone has a responsibility and a role to play in this. Last autumn, we had the Mindlab theatre performances, which got many of us, including myself, thinking again. Even something that may be intended innocently can be experienced as inappropriate. It is crucial that we respect the boundaries of others. That we call each other to account when we observe inappropriate behaviour, that action is taken, and that we help each other to start the conversation. Anyone who experiences something unwanted should notice that they are not alone in such a situation.

Take action against inappropriate behaviour

On you will find more information about inappropriate behaviour. If you come across inappropriate behaviour towards others or towards yourself, we ask you to take action. There are various experts within the UU who can help you.

Kummeling: "We have seen that people often do not feel safe enough to report things or to call others to account. Sometimes people feel overwhelmed or ashamed. Power relations also often play a role. I understand that, but I still want to ask people to speak up. Know that you can get help if you take such a brave and important step. And that the experts always treat you and your report confidentially. We have a collective responsibility to stop inappropriate behaviour and to really take action. I emphasise here that speaking out is important, but it all starts with inappropriate behaviour not taking place.

Experts and training

Complaints Committee

UU is working on new regulations and complaint handling. This also means a new structure and new members for the Interpersonal Integrity Committee that deals with this. This committee consists of employees and students of our university and external members. There are still internal spots available for staff and students, so if you want to contribute to a (social) safer Utrecht University, please respond to the vacancies.

See the vacancy text and more information about the committee. The vacancy is in Dutch, as members of the committee are required to be efficient in Dutch and English.