On Monday, the Executive Board sent out an email announcing that all events on the university calendar will be called off until 1 August at the earliest. The Dutch government has currently placed restrictions on public gatherings until 1 June, but the university has decided to extend this term by another two months. “Events in June, July and August need to be prepared in April and May”, explained Hans Smits, chair of the Executive Board, during an Erasmus TV broadcast on Thursday morning. “As you can imagine, people are occupied with other things right now. So it’s mainly a question of priorities.”
All events organised by ‘EUR organisational units’ will be called off, in other words. This includes events on campus, but also events at other locations. This measure does not extend to educational activities, examinations or exams, thesis defences or PhD conferral ceremonies.
For the time being, student organisations are free to organise public events in June and July. Smits also stressed that Eurekaweek, which falls in mid-August, will be going ahead as planned. “A lot would have to happen before we cancelled Eurekaweek – a government ban, for instance.”
As it is, the national government has prohibited public gatherings until 1 June. Essential events in the period 1 June-1 August have to be organised online wherever possible or otherwise postponed. Non-essential events in this period will be cancelled, unless this creates a risk of liability. This means that EUR would be held liable in the event of a cancellation, with the obligation to pay damages.
“We will be unable to cancel an event if this entails liability or other financial risks,” writes the Executive Board. “The only situation in which EUR could possibly invoke force majeure is a government extension of the ban on public events past 1 June.” In this case, the university does recommend contacting the parties involved as soon as possible – to see whether it is possible to come to an agreement and postpone the event, or possibly organise it online.