A suspension of eight to 52 weeks of all society activities, the stepping down of three Board members and even one expulsion. After an ‘in-depth internal investigation’, the Rotterdamsch Studenten Corps (Rotterdam student society) has meted out strong punishment to all 41 members that violently forced their way into the Delftsch Studenten Corps (DSC), their TU Delft sister student society. ‘We blame them for seriously damaging the honour and good name of the Society’, writes the Senate of the Rotterdamsch Studenten Corps in a statement (in Dutch) on its website.
Clubs and fireworks
On the evening of 19 November 2021, the Rotterdam members stormed Phoenix, the TU Delft club building, with clubs and fireworks. One window, crockery and furniture were destroyed and the members present were verbally and physically attacked. Months later, one TU Delft student society member still suffers from physical complaints. What triggered the attack was a white armchair that TU Delft first years had stolen from the Board in Rotterdam the previous week.
A report was lodged about abuse and destruction of property and Erasmus University banned the Rotterdamsch Studenten Corps from all official occasions for the rest of the academic year.
All the members involved have now been suspended and are required to do community work for a Rotterdam and Delft social organisation. The damage they caused to the DSC must also be reimbursed.
The level of punishment was commensurate with the level of misconduct and the position of the student in the society. Eight members, including three former Senators, were expelled from their society positions. They had already voluntarily stepped down from their Board functions on 6 December 2021. The heaviest suspension led to the expulsion of one of the members.
In a response, Olivier Abbenhuis, President of the DSC stated that he believed that the sanctions are justified. ‘The Rotterdam Senate has maintained close contact. This incident was not easy to handle and was made more difficult by the involvement and the stepping down of three Board members.’
The Rotterdamsch Studenten Corps is working with its Supervisory Board and Erasmus University on changing its culture. ‘The incident at DSC showed that our society needs more regular internal dialogue between members. Only then can we really give meaning to a culture shift without excesses’, declares the statement.
Abbenhuis does not believe that it is up to the Delftsch Studenten Corps to say what is needed to bring about that shift in culture. ‘But for that change to happen, the imposition of sanctions was needed. The Rotterdamsch Studenten Corps has now done that.’
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