TU Delft’s Executive Board announced the Inspectorate of Education’s impending call on Thursday 22 December at around 16:10 by email. The call itself followed 15 minutes later. The Inspectorate of Education writes that it has ‘received multiple reports about inappropriate behaviour towards employees of Delft University of Technology. This is why the Inspectorate will look into the subject of social safety within the TU Delft.’
Employees that are experiencing or have experienced transgressive behaviour can submit a report on the Inspectorate’s website. This can be done anonymously, though when asked a spokesperson of the Inspectorate emphasises that all names and contact details of anyone who does give their names and contact details will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. The Inspectorate intends to ‘invite some of the notifiers for an in-depth interview’ that ‘will not take place at the premises of the University and will be exclusively held by employees of the inspectorate’. “We will do this if we have further questions, for example about the perspective of the notifiers,” says the spokesperson.
The call, the accompanying message and the Executive Board’s announcement raise a lot of questions. The Executive Board itself states that ‘we do not have any more information’ and expresses a wish to ‘cooperate constructively’ on the investigation. The Executive Board hopes that employees do the same. ‘All of you are completely free to cooperate with the Inspectorate’s investigation’, states the email.
‘We want to get a complete picture’
For reasons of traceability, the spokesperson of the Inspectorate does not want to say how many and what kind of reports lie behind this call. He does know, however, that this is the first time that the Inspectorate is doing this in higher education.
But why does the Inspectorate consider this necessary given that TU Delft has various internal helplines for transgressive behaviour, such as the Confidential Advisors and the Ombudsperson. “In accordance with the Higher Education and Research Act, we have a monitoring task. The signals that we received are the reason to see if what we have heard is occurring more widely. We want to get a complete picture. We see this as our job,” says the spokesperson.
The timing of the call, given the approaching Christmas holiday, is unusual. Why did the Inspectorate opt for this? According to the spokesperson, the timing ‘is connected to the progress of the investigation’. “It is sufficiently urgent so it is best to do it now.” The spokesperson does not know how many and what type of reports he will be dealing with the near future. “We will assign people according to the needs.”
A report will be written on the investigation. When the report will be issued is as yet unknown. It depends on the nature and scale of what emerges in the time to come
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