Radboud rector quits early in “sexual comments row”

Photo: FakirNL via Wikimedia Commons

Radboud University’s rector Han van Krieken resigned on Wednesday over comments made to a female staff member in 2017.

Van Krieken, who was due to retire next month, said he had decided to step down early so as not to detract from the university’s “festive 100th anniversary celebration”. The university will celebrate its centenary on October 17.

Van Krieken earlier admitted to making two “sexually inappropriate” comments to a female colleague at an event in January 2017, which led to him receiving a formal warning.

He was able to keep his job after the incident but the female worker eventually left the university, the Gelderlander reported at the weekend.

The woman made a complaint about the comments in 2018 which was upheld by an independent investigation. Her lawyer, paid for by the university, recommended she take redundancy, which she did at the end of 2019, nearly two years after the incident.

The number of reports of sexual harassment at Dutch universities has doubled in four years, according to researchers for radio programme Argos.

Argos has been researching harassment and social safety issues at the 13 Dutch universities and found the number of reports of “me too” related incidents made to independent integrity officers rose from 141 in 2019 to 300 last year.

In total, there were 4652 reports of bullying and other forms of harassment and 812 covering sexually inappropriate behaviour during the four-year period, Argos said. Just 2% of reports went on to become formal complaints.

In particular, Argos highlighted the situation at Radboud University in Nijmegen, which it described as “notable”. The number of reports of inappropriate behaviour rose from 69 to 225 in the four years under investigation.

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