Konden de leden van de Nederlandse corpora vorige maand nog van vreugde over de hoofdjes van aspirant-leden hossen, inmiddels vertoont het ‘laatste onneembare bastion van de academische wereld’ flinke barsten.

Last month members of Dutch fraternity-like student societies had just received news that made them so happy they could have danced on the heads of prospective members. Now the ‘final impregnable bastion of academia’ is beginning to crack.

In August the oldest student societies in the Netherlands were in an exultant mood. Traditional, fraternity-like student societies had been included on a list of Dutch intangible cultural heritage. “Having drinks together on a regular basis, the unwritten rules and hazing” were part of Dutch cultural heritage, according to the National Inventory. Just a month later, the following things could be added to that list: ‘drawing up slut lists and bashing in prospective members’ brains’. Thanks to Groningen-based Vindicat atque polit, traditional student societies have acquired a bad rep. And the National Inventory recently decided to postpone the listing of student societies.

It started in early September, when there was much ado about pictures of hazing rituals in Vindicat’s Almanac: pictures showing a girl who was having her face pressed into a plateful of food and a boy lying on his belly and holding a stick in his mouth. ‘Revolting and disgraceful’, a member of Groningen University’s Council called it. Little did he know that things would get much worse. Because just a few weeks later, a ‘slut list’ was found, i.e. an unofficial Vindicat almanac listing the ‘goorste wijven’ (Vindicat slang for ‘most beautiful girls’). The girls had all been rated, and their phone numbers and photos of them wearing bikinis had helpfully been provided.

Vindicat’s month was closed off with an incident that occurred during the aforementioned hazing period: following an all-too-enthusiastic ritual, a fresher had to be admitted to hospital due to a cerebral oedema. Initially, Groningen University stated that this was merely an internal affair. Then it came to its senses, and proceeded to go completely over the top by announcing a complete abolition of hazing activities.

Despite all the frivolity in which our male and female students are indulging outside the campus, Dutch universities are doing well. Never before did they score so well in the highly prestigious Times Higher Education university ranking. All Dutch universities (yes, even Groningen) ranked among the global top 200. EUR, which was already ranked in the top 100 before this year, climbed two rungs on the ladder, from 71th to 69th place, which makes it the fourth-best university in the Netherlands.

No doubt EUR’s beautiful and clean campus is one of the reasons for this excellent ranking. And it is about to get even cleaner, thanks to the monthly efforts of a few intellectually disabled young people supported by the Bont Foundation. Armed with pickup grabbers and rubbish bags, these kids are going over our entire campus until no litter is left. The fact that they are mentally disabled does not stop them from being boys, as proven by Cas, 18, who feasts his eyes while going about his cleaning duties. He claims he made the moves on a female student by ‘checking out her backside’.

What is less cool is Erasmus University’s treatment of disabled students. In a report published by the Higher Education Information Centre, EUR scores a thoroughly mediocre 6 out of 10, which means it ranks 11th out of 13 universities. The Centre marked the universities for the provision of information, adjustments to their courses, resources and level of support, among other things. EUR scored between 6 and 6.5 for each of these components.

Meanwhile, Erasmus MC is both happy and fearful. The medical interns are fearful – so much so that they have announced they are going to mount a protest. The new student loan system has caused them to lose their income. And since the internships are very time-consuming and exhausting, medical interns are generally unable to have a side job. Even so, the Minister of Education does not consider this a problem. Doctors will have a good income later, she argues, so they can handle their oversized debt.

At the same time, there is happiness for the surviving relatives of people who donated their bodies to science. After years of lobbying and many crowd-funding appeals, they finally got what they wanted: a monument to people who donated their bodies to Erasmus MC. Mayor Aboutaleb unveiled the monument at the Hofwijk Cemetery in Rotterdam-Overschie, to the great delight of people like Joke van der Wal, who, thirteen years after her husband’s passing, now finally has a fixed place where she can commemorate him.

The monument was the result of EUR’s first successful crowd-funding project, which raised €12,000, even though only €10,000 was required. “The additional money allowed us to make the monument even bigger, and to add a little to its immediate surroundings,” a very happy initiator of the project, Professor of Human Anatomy Gert-Jan Kleinrensink, said after the unveiling of the monument.