Utrecht University wants to dismiss professor for inappropriate behaviour

A professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Utrecht University has been suspended after 17 reports of inappropriate behaviour. The university has started the dismissal procedure. Because of the “severity, nature and magnitude” of the reports, the Executive Board wants to dismiss the professor, according to university newspaper DUB. The name of the professor has not been revealed.

photo Pierre Banoori / shutterstock

Last year, confidential counsellors passed on reports about the professor to the Executive Board. An independent committee then investigated the matter. What exactly occurred has not been disclosed. According to daily newspaper AD, no report has been made to the police.

The dismissal is the latest in a series of reports of inappropriate behaviour in the academic world. Last October, news emerged about a professor of astronomy at Leiden University and a professor of educational theory at KU Leuven in Belgium.

Academy of Sciences KNAW

But the issue has been around for a lot longer. Shortly before the summer of 2022, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) published an advisory report on how to tackle social safety in academia. The committee was chaired by behavioural scientist Naomi Ellemers, who is also a professor at Utrecht University, where a professor has now been suspended.

“These problems are never isolated incidents,” Ellemers said in an interview last October. “Time after time you hear that it’s part of a pattern that has been known for a long while.” She hoped that the universities would finally reach a tipping point. “We have to clear out the attic and deal with cases that have been going on for years; after that, we also have to look to the future.”

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