“Representatives of the university and the Municipality have been conferring with the student associations for months now, asking them to take responsibility and abide by the Covid containment measures. This is disgraceful behaviour on the party-goers’ part,” says rector magnificus Rutger Engels. “They not only organised a large-scale house party, they also turned on the police officers, which I find ill-mannered and unacceptable. I have taken the board of the association involved (RSC/RVSV, Eds.) to account for this. We will remain in dialogue with all student associations regarding their members’ behaviour and the need to follow the rules.”
According to the police, the house party was attended by a total of 55 students. Of this group, 36 have been fined – the rest having already fled via the back door by the time the officers entered the building. “I won’t be using strong language, but I am deeply saddened by this incident. They behaved very inappropriately,” said Mayor Aboutaleb in an interview with RTV Rijnmond on Monday morning.
“Last weekend there was indeed a party in one of our association houses. This is against all our rules ”, confirms Pita Elhorst, president of RSC/RVSV. “We’ve heard the students behaved scandalously towards the police when they wanted to end the party. We are very shocked about that. We immediately started an investigation into what happened exactly and we are also in close contact with the police and other involved parties. Such behaviour is scandalous and cannot be justified, so those responsible must absolutely be sanctioned.”
The association has requested advice from the GGD (the regional public health service) and it advised that all those present should go into self-quarantine. “That is something we are going to impose on those students and which we’ll have to check.”
Elhorst says she first wants to find out exactly what happened and which members were involved. Then the board will determine which sanction should be imposed on the students. One option is a house suspension, which means the students living there can no longer call it a RSC/ RVSV house.
Organising a house party is not allowed, the association has once again communicated this to all its members. “Recently, we have noticed that students keep visiting each other, despite the corona measures. We understand that students needs social contact, but everybody in the Netherlands has to adapt to the corona crisis and organising a party is not part of that.”
Together with other associations, the municipality and the university, RSC/RVSV is looking for ways to get together in a safe manner. “We think that a solution could be to organise more events at our society house, where there is plenty of room to run everything according to the measures and we can also verify this properly. In this way, we would like to prevent members from organising activities in their own homes.”
Ten thousand euros
The Mayor had actually been talking with representatives of the Rotterdam student associations as recently as Friday morning. He had asked the students to think along about effective ways to adhere to the Covid measures, and promised to award a ten thousand euro prize to the best idea. “This talk was actually intended to raise awareness of the severity of the infections among students,” he said on Friday in response on EUR’s Instagram page. “Unfortunately, we’re faced with a substantial number of infections among students, which we can’t afford to ignore. I have also challenged them.” While individual students are welcome to submit their ideas, the Mayor would prefer entries to be made via the associations, and for the reward to also end up in one of their coffers.