President of the Executive Board Jan Mengelers said yesterday afternoon that he was shocked and angry by the news brought to him by Cursor earlier in the day. He is at pains to point out that the Executive Board takes the matter very seriously indeed and that it will most definitely have consequence for the Eindhoven Student Corp.
Cursor had sent Mengelers the text posted Thursday January 18th on the Facebook page of the Aleph society; an announcement of their upcoming carnival party, a hugely popular event among members of the E.S.C. The announcement was only fully removed after the weekend.
'A woman's will is irrelevant #NieToo'
‘A woman's will is irrelevant #NieToo!’ That was the punch line ending the invitation. It was preceded by some passages very hostile to women, such as in the opening sentences: ‘Research shows that these days 3 out of 4 women feel molested once in a while. Naturally, we, of the one and only Aleph Society, think that is fabulous. That since 1958 we have been allowed to touch up women unasked is a luxury other men cannot enjoy.’
Further on in the posting: ‘Because naturally we at Aleph know, like everyone else, that during the carnival a woman has no say over her own body.’ The posting concluded with a rhyme: ‘From group sex to luring children, which scandal are you involved in!?’.
Very in-depth talk
The committees of both the E.S.C and Aleph, one of the corps' oldest societies, were summoned yesterday afternoon to report immediately to the Executive Board. As well as President Jan Mengelers, also present were vice-chairperson Jo van Ham and university secretary Nicole Ummelen. Mengelers speaks of a very in-depth talk, and reports that the grant to the E.S.C has been suspended indefinitely and with immediate effect. The association receives between 13,000 and 14,000 euros in committee officer grants annually from TU/e.
“But that's not the end of it,” says Mengelers. “The committee of Aleph has been suspended, the carnival party has been cancelled and an independent committee will be investigating how this could have happened. We are also considering whether to temporarily ban the E.S.C from attending academic ceremonies. Whether we introduce this punitive measure will depend on how they deal with this matter in the coming period.”
Erik Koningen, chairperson of Aleph and a Master's student of Operations Management & Logistics, says he did see the event announcement Thursday, but at the time did not look further into the matter. It seems that later, on Friday, he urged the committee members organizing the carnival party to make changes. Indeed, certain passages were removed, says Koningen, but only at the end of the weekend was it decided to remove the announcement in its entirety. Koningen says that only now does he realize that the committee should have distanced itself from the piece immediately. “Unbelievably stupid,” he says on that point.
This opinion is shared by Jaap Peterse, president of the E.S.C. “As soon as we got wind of this, the Senate sought contact with Aleph. Likewise, our first step was to insist on changes, but we should have demanded its removal from the get-go. Whether it happened due to naivety or thoughtlessness, it makes no difference. It should never have been posted and we want to offer our apologies for it. The measures taken by the Executive Board are, we feel, understandable.”
In the coming week both the E.S.C and the Aleph society will be considering activities they can undertake to contribute in a positive way to the #Metoo discussion. “What was said in the announcement does not create a realistic picture of how in this regard this subject is being addressed within Eindhoven student life,” says Aleph chairperson Koningen. “We want to try and set this distortion straight.”
Mengelers hopes that this self-cleansing ability will actually be effective. “In the coming period we will be discussing matters with the E.S.C. on a regular basis in order to see how this matter develops further and what consequences it will ultimately have.”