The Executive Board has ended their relationship with the current student board of KASEUR, the foundation which represents multicultural student associations in Rotterdam. According to the minutes of a meeting between the Executive Board and the board of KASEUR, the relationship with the board of the foundation ‘has unfortunately been seriously damaged in recent years’.

The Executive Board wants the multicultural associations to appoint a new board at KASEUR. If this is not successful, in future, the university will communicate directly with the associations.

EUR cites various reasons for this drastic move. Communication with KASEUR was ‘very difficult’, ‘characterised by a huge difference between the apparently constructive and pleasant personal meetings and their subsequent follow-up by KASEUR with very negative and expansive responses by e-mail.’ That produced ‘a great deal of interference on the line’. Furthermore, the umbrella organisation regularly failed to meet agreements. These observations were shared by ‘various involved parties within EUR’.

'Foreign students'

The board of KASEUR admits that there have been incidents in the past, but denies that these were always the fault of the foundation. Chairperson Germain Fraser also says that the foundation did fulfil its agreements with the Executive Board. Furthermore, the university did not always adopt an appropriate approach towards the associations, according to Fraser. At the opening of the academic year, for example, the multicultural associations were presented as ‘foreign students’ and this did not change even after KASEUR had complained. Nor was KASEUR welcome during Eureka week of 2016.

Fraser and the committee members do not plan to resign and consider to file a complaint against the Board’s decision. “We’ve asked the university council to intervene. They’ve planned a session on 29 May, so we’ll see what happens.”

RSM report

Incidentally, a report appeared in various media on Tuesday about the links between Erasmus University and the fossil energy industry. Fraser is the second author of the report. Despite there being no evidence of any connection, he calls the timing for this decision by the Board ‘rather a coincidence’. “Three or four weeks ago, we submitted the draft report and then this happened.” A spokesperson for EUR categorically denies any connection. “This communication problem with KASEUR has been an issue for years. Furthermore, Fraser was not the main author of the report. This should never have been allowed to play a role. Our aim is to improve communication with the student associations; we want a good partnership with them,” she tells EM.

KASEUR represents the associations ARIA Students, ASAH, Avicenna, CSA-EUR, EESA, IES,  Mozaik, PPI-Rotterdam and SSA. The associations have been asked to come up with a solution to the situation themselves.