I’d like to propose a toast to the new year and to celebrate my return as a columnist, but it's not yet 5 P.M. You may have missed it, but TU Delft ‘deems it desirable to introduce a TU Delft-wide alcohol and substances policy’. One of the rules, effective as of 1 January, is that no alcohol may be consumed on campus before 5 P.M. That could be tricky if our Executive Board receives a visit from the President of the Université Paris-Sorbonne and wine may no longer be served during lunch at the Faculty Club. Instead, a delicious glass of lait de baratte will have to suffice. Or the congregation can relocate to Le Vieux Jean or Aan de Zweth (formerly De Zwethheul). Problème résolu!
Who comes up with such condescending restrictions? And who drew up the four-page document in which no less than nine creeds are listed? Some of them are downright ridiculous. For example, serving alcohol would exclude people who abstain from drinking alcohol. So for the sake of inclusion, we are not allowed to drink alcohol as well. Cheers to that! What about the inclusion of the thirsty, not to mention the alcoholics? They are emphatically excluded by this new policy.
It’s fine to have a guideline to limit alcohol being served before 5 P.M. at meetings organised on campus. But I’m allergic to prohibitions, especially when done under the pretext that ‘we care about your well-being’. Maybe they should first do something about the excessively high workload, so we don’t have to reach for the bottle in utter desperation.
Do something about the excessively high workload first
Apparently, we should consider ourselves lucky, judging by the statement that ‘a full “prohibition” on campus is not necessary’. The mere fact that it is being mentioned implies that it has been discussed. You seriously wonder how some of this prose materialised, for instance ‘The aim is to also have the tenants within a building or a location on campus embrace the policy.’ Who comes up with such drivel? And what does it actually mean? Who are ‘the tenants within a building’ and why should they ‘embrace’ this decree? The speed limit in residential areas is 50 kilometres per hour and the aim is to have all road users embrace this rule.
The most absurd, infantile rule is that it is forbidden to ‘keep empty containers of alcoholic beverages’ in your workplace. There goes my hobby! I know that there are TU Delft employees with an alcohol problem who drink during working hours. Will that problem now be solved? So that when we find an empty bottle in your desk drawer, you are caught red-handed and will be fired?
And what is the next step? A breathalyser test three times a day? As a silent protest, I now keep this empty bottle of delicious single-malt whiskey on my desk. So arrest me! It seems that the regime at TU Delft is far stricter than in many TBS (detention under hospital orders) institutions. Cheers!
Dap Hartmann is Associate Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Delft Centre for Entrepreneurship (DCE) at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management. In a previous life, he was an astronomer and worked at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Together with conductor and composer Reinbert de Leeuw, he wrote a book about modern (classical) music.
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