Our open letter caused quite a stir. I have received supporting messages, both from colleagues in The Netherlands as from abroad. I also received several emails from colleagues who did not agree with the content at all. This led to interesting conversations and more will follow.
The university board also responded to our letter and last Thursday, November 2, the authors of the letter had a good discussion with the chair and freshly installed vice-chair of the Executive Board and a number of deans.
Naturally, there was room in that conversation to express dissatisfaction with the course of events, but overall, the conversation was constructive. Initially, there was a slightly negative atmosphere, but one of our deans managed to turn this around very skillfully: “the fact that we can talk about this is already a sign of progress, because ten years ago that would absolutely not have been possible.” Thanks for that.
As a result of our meeting, follow-up steps have been agreed upon. The authors of the letter are going to continue meeting with several administrators to produce concrete proposals to improve social safety and transparency at TU/e. And since none of those present pretended to represent the entire TU/e community, we agreed that a broader audience will be included in these proposals.
Finally, together, we are also going to try to answer the question: “what kind of university do we want to be?” and again, the broader TU/e community will be invited to join that discussion.
All those present understood that all this takes time, but we will keep Cursor’s readers informed.