Fashion institute director resigns for failing to create safe climate

Dirk Reynders has stepped down as director of Amsterdam fashion institute AMFI because he felt unable to achieve a culture change at the troubled school, he said in an email  to his colleagues which has been seen by broadcaster NOS.

The institute was the subject of a critical report last year describing the organisation as ‘socially unsafe to extremely unsafe’.

Students had earlier demanded Reynders’ resignation for ignoring signals of abuse at the institute, such as the habitual humiliation of students by teachers, and comments with sexual and racial overtones. Many students described a climate of fear which prevented them from speaking out.

Reynders said he ‘was not the right person to bring about a transition. ‘I am more focused on education, research and fashion’, he said, admitting that he hadn’t done enough to make the necessary changes.

The Amfi case came as the latest in a series of MeToo related scandals and resignations to hit higher education in the Netherlands.

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