In a letter to the House of Representatives, Bussemaker responds to an investigation by the Inspectorate of Education into the expense claims submitted by board members at Utrecht University. They seem to have been wrongly reimbursed for expensive flights, meals and taxi journeys.
According to the report published today, some of the expense claims submitted by board members at Utrecht University from 2013 through 2015 were “inappropriate” and “unreasonable”, involving a sum of over 25 thousand euros.
Furthermore, the inspectorate questions the need for board members to fly business class on a total of nine occasions and stay in overly expensive hotels. In all, this involved nearly forty thousand euros.
Minister Bussemaker feels that this is “unacceptable” and calls on the Utrecht University board members to show more “frugality”. The university has since tightened its expense claim rules, the president of the supervisory board told the Utrecht University website DUB.
According to the Minister, the problem is the lack of statutory rules concerning the level of expense claims. This means that the inspectorate is unable to establish exactly how much public money is involved, making it difficult to claim it back.
She feels that it is high time that the universities and universities of applied science agree on uniform rules concerning the level of expenses, which should come into force on 1 January 2018. The universities say that they are working on this, writes the Minister, but the universities of applied science and the association of supervisory boards of universities of applied science “have indicated that they have no intention of drawing up such regulations at this time”.
Bussemaker regrets this and threatens to introduce legislation if the supervisory boards of universities of applied science and the universities fail to produce clear rules soon.
On the agenda
Pim Breebaart, President of the Association of Supervisory Boards of universities of applied science, confirms that until now, expense claim rules were a matter for the individual members. “This autumn the subject will be on the agenda of the general meeting of members and we will discuss the minister’s wish.”
Student organisations ISO and LSVb are shocked by the expense claims of Utrecht University. “If the universities and universities of applied science aren’t willing to draw up their own rules, we call on politicians to tackle this waste of taxpayer’s money,” says the LSVb.