Mayor Peter den Oudsten feels it is completely unacceptable that the committee was unwilling to give the police the name of the suspected association member. “This was a factor in making it impossible to further investigate into serious violent incidents within your association,” he writes.

Assault

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Another case of abuse at Groningen’s Vindicat student society

Vindicat did not report the incident to the university or the municipal authorities…

He additionally referred to an assault on a student that took place at the fraternity’s premises in December 2017. The committee didn’t report this to the university and the mayor was also in the dark regarding the incident.

The mayor’s patience has run out: “During the next 12 months, if there are any incidents in or in the vicinity of your café establishment, or during an outdoor event organised by your association, I will consider taking the step of temporarily closing your business, imposing temporary closing times, and/or revoking your operating permit.”

According to Sikkom, Vindicat stated that while it regretted the incident, the committee also wrote to the municipality saying it wanted to respect the privacy of its members and that the incident in May did not take place on the fraternity’s grounds. “We fail to understand the link between not providing information and our operating permit.”

No weapons

The fraternity also didn’t consider the December assault to be a serious incident. “Fortunately no weapons were involved, so we’re not talking about a stabbing or a shooting here.” However, this explanation failed to allay the mayor’s concerns and the administrative warning will remain in force for a year.

The municipality informed Sikkom that it’s highly unusual to issue this type of warning to a student association. “It’s common for pubs, but almost never for student associations.”

Misconduct

Due to the misconduct of its members over the past few years, Vindicat has regularly been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The association’s administrative grants were withdrawn last year when news of the unreported assault in December surfaced.

The fraternity promised to mend its ways, but the University of Groningen and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences have seen little evidence of this. In October they adopted a negative recommendation from the Groningen Accreditation Committee for the Assessment of Student Organisations. Vindicat will be given a new opportunity in the next academic year.

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