Radboud University concealed incident of sexual harassment by rector for six years
The president of the Radboud University, Han van Krieken, sexually harassed a female colleague about six years ago. Even though the complaint about the incident was upheld, the university never disclosed the incident or documented it in its annual records, De Gelederlander found. On Saturday, Van Krieken issued his first public apology for the incident.
Van Krieken, Rector Magnificus of the University in Nijmegen, made sexually inclined, inappropriate remarks to a female colleague in 2017. A year later, she filed a complaint about it. Now, for the first time, the university president spoke publicly about the incident and apologized.
On the university's website, Van van Krieken said in his statement “ I have become aware of the full extent to which two remarks, which I made in quick succession during an informal conversation at an event in January 2017, impacted an employee. This affects me deeply. Although I had no intention of coming across as sexually intimidating at the time, that is unfortunately what happened. I’ve been deeply shocked by this. “
Furthermore, he expressed his regrets. “I should not have made these two remarks. I deeply regret making them. Unfortunately, I cannot undo this. What I can do is also apologize publicly, “ it is written in the statement.
After the incident of sexual harassment, the female colleague filed a complaint against the rector. After an investigation, the independent commission upheld her case and declared the complaint well-founded. This resulted in a warning for Van Krieken.
Furthermore, on the advice of the complaints committee, the university had to initiate certain measures for the woman to "provide her with a safe workplace." This included arrangements to ensure that she could work “without the proximity of the rector". According to the university, this was implemented.
However, the complaint against Van Krieken was not found in the annual reports documenting such complaints. According to the newspaper, the 2018 report allegedly made no mention of the sexual harassment incident. The 2021 annual report merely states in a footnote that there was a sexual harassment complaint filed by an employee against a colleague. However, the name of the principal is not mentioned in this regard. This was "inadvertently" not included in the 2018 annual report, the newspaper was told after inquiries.
The incident was kept secret from the public for six years. Until the public apology from Van Krieken, who will retire at the end of this year, Radboud University faculty, staff, and students were unaware of the rector's misstep. Especially because Van Krieken is responsible for campus safety and has given speeches several times during his time as rector to speak out against inappropriate behavior.
Regarding the rector's late apology, the university board at the time did not feel it necessary to make the 2017 incident public and felt a non-public warning was appropriate, De Gelderlander wrote.