Outlandish university board expenses under microscope
Board members of major universities often spend more money than allowed on expenses, while sidestepping many rules meant to prevent fraud, reports RTL Nieuws. Travel expenses were frequently cited as a major source of spending beyond limits.
One board member from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam Zuid declared 27,000 euros on hotels in Amsterdam, permissible because he lived 92 kilometers from the city. He refused to get a local apartment because the university would only commit to a one-year deal.
Executive-level management often fly business class even when rules state they should travel economy class instead.
According to calculations, the Executive Board at UvA exceeded their limit for overnight stay at hotels by eight times. The Board also declared expensive tours to destinations like Italy and Barcelona for the purposes of team building.
The university spent around 324 thousand euros on drivers for its executives, higher than the 250 thousand spent by the University of Utrecht and 180 thousand euros paid by TU Delft for the same reason.
"Board members should be aware that it is public money that they spend which is intended for education," commented Jet Bussemaker, Minister of Education.
The Association of Universities (VSNU) said it saw no reason to believe there was something wrong with the expenditures declarations. "The rules vary by university and are determined by Supervisory Board," a spokesman for the association said. "An amount may seem high, but that does not mean that it runs contrary to the guidelines."