Radboud University rector Han van Krieken resigns amid sexual harassment revelation
Han van Krieken, rector magnificus of Radboud University Nijmegen, will resign from his duties earlier than expected, De Gelderlander reported on Wednesday. The newspaper revealed on Saturday that he sexually harassed a female colleague six years ago.
While Van Krieken had already planned to retire by the end of the year, this revelation hastened his decision to retire earlier. He will remain in office until October 17, according to the newspaper. He has served as rector magnificus since May 2016.
In a message published on the university’s website on Wednesday, the rector stated he is retiring earlier “to provide room for the new rector to lead our beautiful university as part of the Executive Board through the current, difficult period.”
“I am aware that the situation that has arisen stands in the way of a festive 100th anniversary celebration,” he added. “It makes me sad to say goodbye to you all in this way,” he concluded.
The regional newspaper De Gelderlander disclosed last week on Saturday that Van Krieken made two inappropriate, sexually explicit comments to a female colleague at Radboud University in 2017. The colleague filed a complaint in 2018. While Van Krieken received a warning, the university chose not to publicize the incident. The matter remained undisclosed for six years.
After the incident became public via De Gelderlander, Van Krieken issued a public apology. “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,” he wrote in a statement.
“I should not have made these two remarks. I deeply regret making them. Unfortunately, I cannot undo this,” he added.
In response to his early retirement announcement, Mario van Vliet, chairman of the university's supervisory board, said on Wednesday that this was “a courageous decision,” and expressed gratitude to Van Krieken for “more than seven years of commitment and dedication to the development of the university.”
In a statement, the university's executive board wrote on Wednesday that “the news of Han van Krieken's early retirement as rector touches us deeply. The rapid developments evoke many feelings and thoughts in us as well.”