White smoke: Radboud University has its own code of conduct

After a year of much discussion, Radboud University has a code of conduct for the university. No major discussions took place at the last joint meeting of the academic year. The new code of conduct will take effect from next school year.

At the last joint meeting of the academic year, which took place this afternoon in the University’s Senate Chamber, the Cooperation Council had no further comments on the draft Code of Conduct for the Executive Board. It puts an end to a discussion that lasted almost the entire academic year.

The new code of conduct enters into force from the new academic year and will be evaluated annually. The aim is for the document to be posted on the university’s website as soon as possible.

‘Widely supported’

It did not get exciting this afternoon. At committee meetings prior to the Joint Assembly, the biggest decisions had already been made. “We have been discussing this for a very long time in the recent period,” said a visibly pleased Vice President Agnes Muskens. “I’m very happy with where we are now.”

‘We look forward to living by the Code of Conduct’

Chairman of the Executive Board Daniël Wigboldus also thanked the members of the Participation Council for their cooperation. ‘As the management has always said: a code of conduct must be widely supported. We look forward to adopting and complying with the Code of Conduct. ‘

Sexual violation

The purpose of the Integrity Code of Conduct is to improve the work culture at Radboud University. The code, which applies to all employees at Radboud University – including student assistants, trainees and security staff – clearly defines what is meant by integrity, and what behavior is appropriate and what is not. The code of conduct also includes a regulation for alcohol and drug use and a regulation for social media.

Among other things, the description of the relationship between teachers and students has been the subject of discussion in recent months. The Code of Conduct states that private relationships between teachers and students are “prohibited throughout the duration of the professional relationship”. Teachers should “avoid personal contacts with individual students where they may create the impression of (sexual) harassment or abuse of power, or which may be interpreted as such, at that time or in retrospect”. If this happens, there is a duty to notify the manager. The employee then looks at possible risks and solutions together with the manager.

The relationship between supervisors and PhD students has also long been the subject of discussion between members of the collaboration committee and the executive board. The Code of Conduct now states that “for the duration of the PhD course, a personal relationship between the PhD candidate and the supervisor is undesirable.”

Tim Hoffman

The Code of Conduct concludes a year of discussion. The University’s Student Council (USR) in a letter sent in early June called on the Executive Board and the Cooperation Council to speed up the implementation of a code of conduct. In the letter, the student council members wrote that they lacked a sense of urgency.

One week earlier, during a Q&A at Radboud Rocks, Tim Hofman was also very surprised that Radboud University did not yet have a code of conduct. “That means you are not instructing the ruler how not to abuse his power,” the journalist and presenter said in a crowded Pieter Bondamplein. He encouraged students to send an email to the principal about the matter. Eight students responded to Hofman’s appeal.

The University Code of Conduct should therefore have been in place much earlier. In November last year, a first version of the code of conduct was submitted to the Cooperation Council for approval, but the Executive Board sent it back to the drawing board. An adapted version in April was again criticized, after which the introduction was shelved.

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