Monday 10 August 2020

Groningen closes file on China campus by refunding misspent cash

Groningen University’s main admin building. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Groningen University said on Thursday is to refund almost €700,000 spent on an abortive attempt to invest in a campus in China from its private funds.

The university said earlier its plans to open the campus in Yantai were being funded by private sources but later admitted the use of personnel did mean tax money had been used.

Jet Bussemaker, the education minister when the plan was launched in 2015, had made it clear that no public money should be spent on the project.

The total amount to be compensated is €669,000, which will be transferred from the university’s private resources to its public reserve, the university said in a statement.

The plan to launch the campus was dropped a year ago after the board admitted there was not enough support for the plan.

‘The plans for a branch campus in Yantai have sparked debate and caused turmoil,’ university chairman Jouke de Vries said. ‘Any ongoing project team activities at the faculties of science & engineering and spatial sciences have now been terminated. This is an important step towards closing this file.’

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