TU Delft honorary doctorate Timmermans remains controversial

 TU Delft honorary doctorate Timmermans remains controversial



The petition started by alumnus Jan Asselbergs against European Commissioner Frans Timmermans being awarded a TU Delft honorary doctorate was signed more than 20,000 times in recent weeks. It is impossible to know which of the signatories is a TU Delft alumnus, in part because about half of them signed anonymously. Of the first 2,000 votes, Asselbergs claims that more than 10% were engineers. Delta reported on this in mid-December.


The petition attracted the attention of the national press, which further boosted the number of signatures. The climate sceptic website Climate Gate also posted (in Dutch) several messages on the issue and referred to the petition.


Professor Andy van den Dobbelsteen (Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment) said he felt compelled to respond on Twitter. In this Twitter thread, he calls on students and staff to actively support Rector Tim van der Hagen, who is under fire from all sides. ‘A scary symptom of our times’, writes @dobbelska.


Van den Dobbelsteen told Omroep West (in Dutch) that alumni who signed the petition seem to have something in common with “People who are affiliated with organisations like Climategate and Clintel, who trivialise climate change. They are retired gentlemen who have never done anything in this field but claim that all climate science is based on shifting sand.”


In addition, a bachelor’s student from TU Delft sent an open letter (in Dutch) to the Rector stating “As a proud student of TU Delft, I would like to let you know that there are not only alumni, but also students who find this (the honorary doctorate, Eds.) a disastrous idea and I hope that the university will reconsider this decision.”


The honorary doctorates will be awarded during the Dies Natalis celebrations of the 180th anniversary of TU Delft on Friday, 14 January 2022.



Updated 17 January 2022 with sentence on Climate Gate.



Science editor Jos Wassink

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