The Dean of the institute located at Nieuwemarkt square does not wish to discuss the nature of the incident. However, he has confirmed that the alleged perpetrator was asked to leave his bedsit in the Lucia student housing complex at Stadhuisplein square, where all first-year EUC students live together. “He left in consultation with us. It is not a punishment,” said Hafkamp. In addition, the two students involved have been asked to agree to certain arrangements preventing them from running into each other in EUC’s building. Hafkamp said that he did not know whether the victim had reported the incident to the police.
The manner in which Hafkamp communicated the incident to the students hit a nerve. In an email to all EUC students, the Dean only mentioned the occurrence of an ‘incident’, without explaining that said incident had been of a sexual nature. A group of 92 students were so frustrated about this fact that they collectively sent the Dean an email in which they called on him to be more explicit. “We can only raise awareness of this issue if we call it by its name: sexual assault,” they wrote. They asked Hafkamp to enter into a debate on how EUC deals with such incidents.
Furthermore, the students are angry because the victim reported the incident to the student counsellors, who then ‘failed to do anything about it’. According to Hafkamp, it makes a certain amount of sense that this happened, because conversations with counsellors are confidential. “Counsellors can only undertake action if students very explicitly ask them to do so. In other cases, counsellors can only advise students to take action themselves.” Hafkamp is not sure whether that was the recommendation issued by the victim’s counsellor.
Hafkamp has admitted that EUC could be more proactive in terms of incident prevention. “We have a workshop on sexual intimidation during our induction period, but sometimes there are too many attendees and everyone just gets too giggly. We must do better than that.” He also wishes to give his staff better training in dealing with such situations. And last but not least, he is considering appointing a confidential adviser. “We’ll have to find some budget for that, but we will manage to do so.”
By now Hafkamp has honoured the request for a debate. A discussion night was held at EUC on 16 April. On that occasion, the Dean promised to establish focus groups so as to be able to discuss things that could be done to improve the situation directly with students.