Universities are obliged to have an ombudsperson. Edith Weijnen fulfilled this role in 2019, before the obligation entered into force. After her departure in March 2022, an immediate successor could not be found. Mario Buijk, ombudsperson at Erasmus MC, therefore also temporarily became available for EUR staff and students.
Food and safety
For Verbaan, Monday was his ‘first serious working day’. “I noticed that I got some phone calls right away, from people who wanted to get to know me to people who already wanted to discuss something with me.” The new ombudsperson considers his work indispensable for any organisation. “The bottom layer of Maslow’s pyramid is food, followed by safety, a safe place. If you want to develop as a student or as an employee, you need a safe environment.” Verbaan hopes to contribute to this from his position.
In an email to employees, Executive Board President Ed Brinksma called Verbaan ‘a solid, analytical, creative and people-oriented professional who, with his passion for people and integrity, can give shape to the further consolidation and refinement of the position’. Brinksma: “A safe working and study environment is essential for EUR. As a result, we are pleased that Wico Verbaan’s arrival means we can once again implement the important independent function of ombudsperson in the long term.”
An ombudsperson is able to independently investigate social wrongs or abuses at the university on their own initiative. This independence does not formally apply to confidential advisers. Students and employees can also contact Verbaan for questions and problems about studying and working. Verbaan can also help with questions, dilemmas or conflicts in the workplace or in the degree programme. The contact with the ombudsperson is confidential.