Future of Paul Bakker at Radboud University still uncertain

07 Dec 2022

Paul Bakker’s future at Radboud University is still uncertain, two and a half years after the Executive Board ordered an investigation into Bakker and the conduct within the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies. He is still not teaching at the moment.

Paul Bakker was discredited in 2020 for ‘inappropriate acts’. Exactly what the professor of History of Philosophy had done, was never announced by the board.

That is why Bakker was unwelcome at the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies (FPTR) until October 2021. This was preceded by an investigation ordered by the Executive Board into the conduct at the FPTR.

Right before the investigation, Bakker was announced as the next dean. But the results of the investigation, which was finished in September 2020, led to the cancellation of his appointment as dean. Because of the ongoing issues, former dean Christoph Lüthy stayed on for one more year and was succeeded last year by Heleen Murre- van den Berg

One day a week

Bakker has partially returned to work in the Erasmus building, starting October 2021. He is allowed to be in the office one day a week to do research. According to vice chair Agnes Muskens, students and employees were informed of this before Bakker’s (partial) return.

The initial agreement was that Bakker would not teach classes until the summer of 2022. However, he is still not teaching in the current academic year. According to Muskens, his work is limited to research.

It is not known how long Bakker will remain absent from teaching. It stands to reason that the university is in talks with Bakker regarding this, but Muskens cannot comment on the issue. Neither can she comment on any additional agreements between the university and Bakker, for privacy reasons. ‘These are personal matters.’


It was clear from an investigation by the board in 2020 that everything is not alright with the general conduct at the FPTR. During the investigation, 29 people reported intimidating or sexist remarks, as well as inappropriate relations between students and teachers and among students. The reported incidents took place over a period of 15 years. The report was followed up by a training course on appropriate work culture.

The social wellbeing at the FPTR was again the centre of attention this week, after philosopher Fleur Jongepier announced her retirement from academia due to the transgressive behaviour of colleagues. She also criticised the way in which universities handle transgressive behaviour.

Paul Bakker refused to comment on the matter.

Translated by Jasper Pesch.

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