EMA has been busy setting up shop since the summer. EMA chair Hila Mohamad has now moved into a new boardroom together with fellow administrators Thomas Cecchini and Alex Kivitz. It’s in the P Building, where you can find all the other multicultural associations too. Up till now EMA has tried to keep a low profile. According to Mohamad, this was in part to avoid the KASEUR board from launching another appeal procedure.

Mohamad, the former chair of the Afghan association ARIA, hopes that after the goings-on of the past year, EMA will be able to start with a clean slate. “A new name, new faces and new opportunities,” is how she sums it up.

Not a foundation


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Board crisis at KASEUR

Two competing boards and a university which refuses to cooperate with KASEUR. The…

In contrast with its predecessor KASEUR, EMA is an association rather than a foundation. “This was on the notary’s advice. Associations’ articles of association are simpler and more transparent than those of a foundation. And the member associations keep the final say,” explains Mohamad. One of the main spearheads adopted by the board is promoting collaboration between the multicultural student associations. “That was already being done, but not that many people knew about it. Last year, for example, ARIA and Avicenna jointly organised an Afghan Culture Night. We want to do more things like that and get more exposure for these events.”

Competing boards

The recognition of the newly-established EMA as the new multicultural umbrella organisation could finally put a stop to the soap opera that has unfurled around KASEUR. Over the past year, KASEUR had two competing boards: one board headed by Germain Fraser, and a second board nominated by the member associations and headed by Jennifer Onyenze. Although the Fraser board had been discharged by the member associations in 2017, it retained control of KASEUR’s bank account and allotted boardroom. In addition, Fraser disputed the legitimacy of the newly-appointed board.

In response to the succession of appeals procedures, the Onyenze board ultimately threw in the towel and stepped down. They weren’t giving up, however – instead they decided to establish a new organisation that the various associations could join. And this plan has reached its fruition with EMA’s recognition by the university. The ten associations formerly affiliated with KASEUR have now all become members of EMA.

Troubling incidents

On 31 August, Rector Magnificus Rutger Engels informed KASEUR that the university would be revoking its recognition of the organisation. One of the consequences of this decision is that the KASEUR board members will no longer be eligible for a grant for administrative work. Referring to a “recurring pattern of unpleasant and troubling incidents”, the Executive Board “no longer sees sufficient opportunities to maintain a constructive relationship,” according to Engels. “For this reason, the [Executive] Board does not see how KASEUR can make a positive contribution to the university community.” The university’s decision to withdraw KASEUR’s recognition was also informed by the fact that the foundation no longer represents any student associations.

As of 31 August, KASEUR will have six weeks’ time to appeal the Executive Board’s decision. In a response, Fraser said he is planning to appeal against the decision.