Social safety plan of action

[Update] Representation bodies and Executive Board discuss diversity, time frame and reporting by Delta in extra consultation meeting

During an extra meeting, the Works Council and Student Council could question the Executive Board about the social safety plan of action. Reporting by Delta was also discussed.

The meeting was in a building of the EWI faculty (Photo: Marjolein van der Veldt)

While the first meeting between the TU Delft representation bodies and the Executive Board was held behind closed doors, anyone interested could attend the second consultation meeting on 10 April (Delta was the only one present).


After summarising the current status by Rivka van der Schoor-van Mastrigt, Integrity Policy Advisor and member of the project team that is monitoring the preparation of the plan of action, the members of the Works Council (OR) and the Student Council had the opportunity to ask questions.

The Student Council went first. Pravesha Ramsundersingh wants to know more about the composition of the sounding board group, the group of staff members that will check the activities outlined in the plan. Ramsundersingh noted that this group ‘is not very diverse’ and advises a wider composition that also includes international students and staff.

Ronald Kuil, the OR Chair, emphasises that vulnerable groups like PhD candidates and women, who were also named in the Inspectorate report, should be represented in the sounding board group.

Van der Schoor-van Mastrigt admits that the group is not complete. She would like to add more people to make it more diverse. “It is good that we are now looking at this as it is important in executing the plan of action.”


Sam de Jong (Student Council) then asks whether the Executive Board is intending to send a response to the ‘Students and staff for safety’ group. The group is behind the petition in which they call on the TU Delft Boards to not start a court case against the Inspectorate of Education.

Van der Hagen confirms that they will do so. The Executive Board will thank the group for expressing its position and inform them that the Board has taken it seriously, he says.

De Jong also notes that the Student Council has limited resources to reach all TU Delft students. He thus asks for a separate Student Council page on Brightspace. Van der Hagen is surprised that there is not already one and says that he is positive about this proposal. Vice Rector Magnificus Rob Mudde promises to help arrange this.

Unexpected turnaround

When the Chair Ronald Kuil gives OR member Erwin van Rijn the floor, the consultation meeting takes an unexpected turn. Van Rijn says that he read a news item in Delta on 5 April about a project team and ‘that seemed as though Delta had screened out some information’. The OR member wonders if he missed a memo as it is not clear which ‘project team’ is referred to.

Rector Magnificus Tim van der Hagen answers that the information in Delta’s item is not correct. There is no project team, but a ‘supervisory committee’. He says that Delta had not included all the information and had screened out some things.

Rather inconvenient, Van Rijn says. “The Executive Board is currently in a corner with everyone shooting them down and this just makes it worse.”


The Delta editor present is sitting in a row of chairs behind the meeting table, directly opposite the Executive Board, but may not respond to these statements, not even when the Rector looks directly at her. The Delta article referred to is based on information from intranet (the message has been removed, but Delta has screenshots).

OR member Koen Mulderij is able to respond. In several attempts he tries to clarify that the information that Delta published was taken word for word from the intranet. “So it is the TU Delft item that contains wrong information, and not the Delta article.”

In the end, Van der Hagen confirms that the information on the intranet is then wrong. But he goes on to say “But Delta could have just looked at the documents”. Which documents he refers to is not clear. The intranet message that was removed also did not refer to any documents.

  • The article Social Safety project team members announced appeared online on Friday 5 April.
  • On Monday 8 April, Delta received an email from the Communications Department requesting it to adjust the position of one of the team members which was accidentally not correct on the intranet. Nothing was said about other incorrect information.
  • On Wednesday 10 April, Delta was accused of sharing incorrect information, spreading screened information and ‘shooting down the Executive Board’ by the Works Council and the Student Council. In accordance with the official statutes, the editor in the audience was there only to listen and may not speak.
  • The Student Council  has addressed this course of action. It also told the editor that it was a shame that this happened.
  • On Wednesday afternoon 10 April, the Chief Editor of Delta expressed her displeasure to the Executive Board about how things went during the meeting, that it was intimidating for the editor, and asked for clarification. Up to the time of publishing the Dutch version of this article, no response had been received. (The is a response now, you’ll find in at the bottom of this article)
  • The original intranet message was removed and put offline on Thursday 11 April at around 13:00.
Targeting the Executive Board

This, however, does not close the subject. Van der Hagen brings up the subject of reactions following the Delta message on social media. Comments were made about him like ‘The one that is the biggest problem has a seat in the group’. He says that this has affected him deeply.

In relation to this, Executive Board member Marien van der Meer says that it is not only managers who are the problem and that it is good to hear that her colleague is affected by it. “I would like this to be respected. Delta is targeting the Executive Board, and that is not good. It is very personal,” she says.

Time frame

The Student Council Chair Jelle Stap then asks about the time frame between now and 16 May, the assumed completion date of the action plan. Van der Schoor-van Mastrigt says that she will have the last internal meetings next week, including the meeting about social safety in the Aula. She is also still planning to talk to external experts on social safety, such as Naomi Ellemers and Kitty Nooy.

The report will then be drafted in week 17 (22-28 April); a meeting with the Inspectorate will follow in week 18 (29 April-5 May); and the project will be completed in weeks 19 and 20 (6-19 May).

In answer to the OR’s question whether Berenschot, the consultancy firm that was asked to help set up the plan of action, will still be involved even after the completion of the plan of action, Van der Hagen answers in the negative. “It is clear that external expertise is needed, but that expertise will not come from Berenschot.”

André Groenhof, Secretary to the Board, reiterated that Berenschot was only contracted to compile the plan of action.

Trade unions’ letter

The last question posed by the OR concerned the letter from the internal trade unions in which they criticised the composition of the project team. Did the Executive Board receive this letter? Van der Meer confirms receipt and says that she will thank the trade unions, but that she will also draw their attention to the incorrect wording on the intranet. It is not a project team, but a supervisory committee that will monitor the progress of the process.

Update 12 April, 2.20pm:
A reader pointed out to us that TU News sent an e-mail on 3 April (two days before the intranet message was published) inviting people to attend one of the meetings on social safety. This message was signed by ‘Project Team Social Safety’.

Update 12 April, 4.35pm:
Tim van der Hagen and Marien van der Meer responded to the editor-in-chief’s e-mail on 12 April. They write that they are sorry that the editor perceived their words as intimidating and that it was not their intention to address the editor personally during their discussion with the Works Council and Student Council. ‘We regret that this came across that way.’ They also propose to have a conversation about this.

News editor Marjolein van der Veldt

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