From the Editor in Chief

Where are openness and accountability?

Now that the Inspectorate report is published, TU Delft too quickly jumps into its traditional role of problem solver, turning its back on the past and closing its doors. If we really want a socially safe university, we should not let this happen, writes Saskia Bonger, Editor in Chief, in this opinion piece.

Foto © Sam Rentmeester . 20231019  .
Delta Profielfoto

For Delta, 28 March should have been an important day. After nearly four weeks, Rector Magnificus Tim van der Hagen would be interviewed on the strongly worded Inspectorate of Education report that was issued on 1 March and everything related to it. On the same day, a meeting would be held with the Works Council, Student Council and the Executive Board on the same subject.

In previous statements, the Works Council and Student Council had also been highly critical about the actions of the Executive Board. They found the intention to take the Inspectorate to court particularly worrying. And that while they recognised the findings of the Inspectorate, namely that TU Delft had failed at the highest level in ensuring social safety. The interview and the meeting would have been good opportunities for the Executive Board to be publicly held accountable.

Behind closed doors

But unfortunately, 28 March is unlikely to become an important day. Not for Delta and especially not for transparency. Delta cancelled the interview with the Rector (luckily we had already gathered some information) after he informed us that he was only prepared to answer questions about the future. And the meeting between the representation bodies and the Executive Board will largely be held behind closed doors. This is mostly to keep Delta out, we heard from OR Chair Ronald Kuil.

‘We are there on behalf of the TU Delft community to report independently’

We were invited to write about the Inspectorate report by TU Delft itself. Not that we needed the invitation, but it does give extra impetus. We had an opportunity on 29 February which we took with both hands. On that day, one day before TU Delft would publish the Inspectorate report, we were able to read it under embargo and could publish articles about it later.

Facts and opinions

In the meantime, we have published many more articles. In doing so, we have tried to shed light on the matter from as many sides as possible and have covered many facts and opinions. We have barely been able to pose any questions to the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board, but this was to have changed on 28 March.

It is a great shame that this is now unlikely to happen. The only thing we can do now is attend the public part of the otherwise closed meeting of the Student Council, the Works Council and the Executive Board. The public part will last 30 minutes, the preceding closed part, 90 minutes. On the insistence of the Student Council, that wants its constituency to be there, Delta will be present. But what will there be to report on?

Wait outside

Do the representation bodies and the Executive Board not understand that it is not about Delta? However much it is good for our journalists’ egos to be referred to, we are not the only ones who are forced to wait outside. We are there on behalf of the TU Delft community to report independently, and to create clarity on an explosive case that touches every member of that community. Staff and students will now be largely deprived of this, when their influence is already so small.

The Rector wants to look forward. We know that now. But why are others also ignoring the past? Mistakes have been made that call for accountability towards all staff and students as they are directly affected. The Inspectorate accuses TU Delft of mismanagement, the heaviest term in its vocabulary, and one that was adopted by the outgoing Minister of Education.


This is an unheard of label for an academic institution. We are still an academic institution, aren’t we? I ask because what I miss in this case is an academic stance, both in the administration and among the representation bodies. Meetings will be held with staff, students and alumni in which they may share their ideas about how to improve things at TU Delft. Should we be like quacks administer drugs to a deathly ill patient before a diagnosis has been made?

‘Anyone wishing for structural change at TU Delft will have to express their dissatisfaction’

We can only make that diagnosis if we have an open dialogue, where past and present are allowed in, with all the uncomfortable criticism that comes with it. The columnsletters to the editor and the rest of Delta’s file on the Inspectorate report are examples of this. The Rector himself calls on people to share their stories, and Executive Board member Marien van der Meer has already done so. But do they have any idea of the number of people who have contacted Delta, often anonymously as they do not feel safe? Give them a voice first.

Problem solvers

We really jump much too quickly into our good old role of problem solvers. The representation bodies and the management have not yet visibly been able to break away from this role. Anyone wishing for structural change at TU Delft will have to express their dissatisfaction. That this can be done and is effective, is demonstrated by TU Delft employees’ petition against a court case.

Let openness be the first step to make TU Delft the leader in social safety, as the Executive Board says that it wants.

  • Many already did, but Delta continues to look for (former) TU Delft employees who want to share their experiences. This can be done anonymously if necessary. Mail to
Editor in chief Saskia Bonger

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