What does the beginning of the French Revolution and Radboud right now have in common? A lot of questions about Catholic identity, widely publicized sexually tinted scandals, and, as we found out on Tuesday, apparently also financial troubles of considerable proportion.
Not only has the university been rocked by two cases of sexually transgressive behaviour this month alone – one involving the rector –, but the Management faculty also cancelled their Christmas party and a lot of contracts this week (at least for the upcoming period). Something is rotten in the state of Denmark – and we are finding out less than a month away from the university’s centenary.
I probably speak for many students, employees, and alumni when I say that it’s been a crap start to the new academic year so far. Quite frankly, I’d much prefer writing a column on a different topic than women being harassed and people afraid of losing their jobs. It’s crap to write about, it’s crap to read about, and it’s also crap to talk about.
‘I remember that we had the conversation, it just seemingly wasn’t built on transparency’
Right now, there is an inevitable feeling of ‘What next?’ or, depending on the question, ‘Who next?’ when it comes to these cases. How systemic, that is the question really, are those financial issues? Are those instances of transgressive behaviour? And how, especially when it comes to the latter, have we failed the conversation this much? I remember that we had the conversation, it just seemingly wasn’t built on transparency.
It’s perfectly clear to me why a faculty losing millions or a rector making inappropriate comments to an employee are not easy topics to talk about – mind you, for entirely different reasons. I also understand that some investigations or issues cannot immediately be made public – but should they not be made public in due time?
Of course, it is bad that those things have happened in the first place. But how they have been handled is an entirely different issue. If there is a lack of transparency, how are we going to have an open conversation? And if we can’t have that, how are we going to find solutions and prevent those things from happening again?
None of those questions are exactly easy to answer. And quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to be José Sanders at the moment, the person who will have to untangle this whole mess in the months – if not years – to come. But, at least from historical precedent, we know that the worst thing to do right now would be to exit in the middle of the conversation – and attempt to flee in a carriage to Montmédy.Read Antonia Leise's blogs here