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Board crisis at KASEUR
Two competing boards and a university which refuses to cooperate with KASEUR. The…
KASEUR represents the interests of ten of Erasmus University’s multicultural student associations. The outgoing chairwoman, Jennifer Onyenze, has announced that she is returning control of the foundation to the former board, under the chairmanship of Germain Fraser. It thus appears that KASEUR is back to square one, because the problems began last year when the university refused to continue talking to the Fraser board due to “a seriously damaged relationship”.
This led to a conflict between the board and the nine associations which were members of KASEUR at that time. The associations dismissed Fraser’s board, which resulted in Fraser terminating the nine associations’ membership of KASEUR. At the same time Fraser disputed the associations’ right to dismiss the board.
However, a few months later, a lawyer and a civil-law notary decided on the basis of the articles of association, that the associations were in the right and, in so doing, cleared the way for a new board. That board was appointed last March with Jennifer Onyenze as its chairwoman.
'Life goes on'
Onyenze now says that she is passing the baton back “to bring an end to all the bullshit”. After her board’s installation, Fraser lodged an objection against the transfer of the boardroom and the manner in which the Chamber of Commerce communicated the registration of the new board; as well as against the civil-law notary involved who, according to Fraser, lacked impartiality because he had been brought in by the university. Onyenze has no time for all these procedures. “My life simply has to go on,” she said with frustration in her voice.
This does not mean that Onyenze is giving up – quite the opposite. She is considering the next steps with her fellow ex-board members.
Fraser now intends to pick up where he left off with KASEUR. He wants to repair the relationship with the associations which he dismissed last year. He also hopes to rebuild his relationship with the university. “This is a good time to make a fresh start. The associations all have new boards; and Huib Pols, who never got on with us, is no longer Rector.”
Should it prove impossible to fulfill the role of an umbrella organisation, Fraser hopes to remodel KASEUR into an independent student association devoted to inclusivity. Fraser also said that the wrangling surrounding KASEUR had become a matter of principle. He has been chairman of the KASEUR foundation since its incorporation some six years ago and added that: “Without doubt there will, in time, be other board members. But justice must first prevail; we feel as though we’ve been stabbed in the back.”