Call for sanctions against Groningen student association after another assault
A member of Groningen student association Vindicat was assaulted by two other members of the student association in December last year. Vindicat failed to report this incident to the relevant authorities, as they are obliged to do under the new hazing code. This new incident was massively met with disgust and calls for sanctions against the student association.
Dagblad van het Noorden revealed this incident on Tuesday. It happened at the society on Grote Markt in Groningen on December 3rd, during Kermesse d’Hiver - a large Vindicat party. One Vindicat member was beaten up by two others, both 22 years old. The victim sustained a mild concussion, damage to his teeth and a cut on his nose. He pressed charges.
The two 22-year-old students are being prosecuted and will appear in court in July, the Public Prosecutor confirmed to both RTL Nieuws and NU.nl.
After previous incidents at Vindicat - including an assault resulting in a brain injury, sexism, and vandalism - the University of Groningen implemented a new code of conduct for student associations. This code states, among other things, that incidents must be reported to the Advice Committee for Introduction Times, according to NU.nl. On Tuesday the Committee called on Vindicat for an explanation. "We'll see then", a spokesperson said to the newspaper.
Why Vindicat didn't report this incident is unclear. The management of the student association told NU.nl that they don't know why it wasn't reported. Vindicat board chairman Marc Mohr said in a written statement that the incident was not reported to the police, because the suspects had no function or responsibility within the student association. But he also told RTL Nieuws that he forgot to report the incident. "We take the protocol seriously", he said to the broadcaster. "I can make all kinds of excuses, but that doesn't take away that I should have reported the incident. I don't know why I didn't do so."
Reactions to this new assault are flooding social media. Especially the failure to report the incident is being met with disapproval. Many call for sanctions against the association, or even closing Vindicat, according to AD. PvdA parliamentarian Kirsten van den Hul even posed parliamentary questions on the matter.
"Apparently a code of conduct is just as useless at Vindicat as at banks like ING", Jimmy Dijk, SP faction leader in Groningen, said on Twitter. "Introduce real rules with sanctions." ChristenUnie faction leader Inge Jongman thinks its time for more action to be taken than just withdrawing scholarships. "The rich daddies pay the fairs. Think about other forms of 'punishment' and awareness behavior", she said on Twitter.
The University of Groningen is outraged by Marc Mohr's explanation that he doesn't know why he didn't report the assault. "The code of conduct clearly states that incidents must be reported", university spokesperson Jorien Bakker said to AD. "And Vindicat also put its signature on that code of conduct."