Monday morning, Delta published the article ‘How confidentiality led to anxiety among I&IC staff and a loss of confidence in the Rector’. It raised the issue of transgressive behaviour by a director, but also of how the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) Executive Board approached this problem. One of the things the Board did is impose a duty of confidentiality on staff members who had complained, asking them to ‘focus on the future once more’.


Yesterday evening, the editorial office took the article offline. A lawyer representing the director threatened to press charges of libel or slander against the editorial office, Delta writes in a statement. TU Delft’s legal department also said it would hold Delta’s editor-in-chief ‘personally liable for any damage incurred by TU Delft’.

In Delta’s opinion, this approach illustrates how the university deals with social unsafety. At the beginning of March, the Inspectorate of Education said that the university of technology is neglecting the care for its staff. The board is alleged not to take sufficient measures to improve safety at the university. The inspectorate concluded it concerns a case of ‘mismanagement’, which allows the minister of Education to intervene.

The article can still be read at

Intense talks

As it happens, that same minister said in the House of Representatives on Monday afternoon that he had had ‘intense and good talks’ on the subject with the TU Delft Supervisory Board. According to the minister, ‘the Executive Board itself must also show a change of leadership, of culture and direction, and that also demands a fair bit of self-reflection.’

TU Delft must submit a plan of action to the inspectorate by mid-May. This needs to constitute a ‘verifiable, objective and demonstrable’ improvement of social safety by the Executive Board. The minister will report back to the House on how this is going before the summer.

Under protest

The Delta editorial office says it still stands behind ‘every word’of the removed article. It has taken it offline ‘under protest’. “We did this not because we submit to legal intimidation, but because we are of the opinion that TU Delft can use its money and time in better ways than starting legal proceedings against its own employees.”

Earlier, TU Delft also threatened to take the Inspectorate of Education to court, but the university changed its mind following a lot of protest.


TU Delft’s Executive Board has now apologised to Delta’s editors via a statement on its own website.


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