The University of Groningen has not registered enough hours, worth tons of euros, for the preparation costs of the branch campus in Yantai. This is the conclusion of the investigation by the Klaassen Committee. The result supports our claims in the Yantai Papers. Together with the staff section, Lijst Calimero and the One Man Gang, DAG believes that this cannot remain without consequences.
For a year and a half the University Council indicated to the deaf ears of the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board that there were problems with the hour registration. Nevertheless, the RUG repeatedly claimed that it acted entirely according to the rules. It was only after our publication in the end of August 2018 that an investigation was launched into the hour registration.
This investigation was led by the Leendert Klaassen Committee. He hired research bureau Ecorys to carry out the investigation. EAlthough the Ecorys calculation method has many difficulties, including continuing a calculation of 2017 for the years 2015 and 2016 (which contains significant differences) and omitting FEB in this calculation, the conclusion was clear: in 2017 the number of hours would be twice as high as what was recorded. 100 percent(!).
However, Mr Klaassen drew completely opposite conclusions than the Personnel Faction, the Science Faction, Lijst Calimero, the One Man Gang and the Democratic Academy Groningen. Klaassen calls the 669.000 euros over three years ‘relatively small’ and attributes this mainly to ‘the complex situation’. In his view, there is therefore no reason to speak of reprehensible action.
We are of the opinion that continuously ignoring the remarks made about the problems signalled to the council ris sufficient to be able to speak of reprehensible actions and improper management.
Moreover, the Klaassen Committee’s investigation does not address the most relevant question. In 2015, the hour registration system IQBS was used, in which employees could declare their hours. The next step was to allocate hours in 2016 and 2017. Ecorys concluded that this is the reason why far too few hours were declared. However, an in-depth investigation into the reason for the change in registration method was not carried out. There is sufficient reason to suspect that this was done deliberately in order to reduce costs.
In our opinion, the amount of 669.000 euros found is not ‘relatively small’, but ‘enormous’. Certainly given the fact the UG until today stated that it has acted according to the rules.
The rules were simple: not a single cent of tax money was allowed to go to the preparation costs for Yantai. That big mistakes were made is because it was simply ‘complex’, is therefore a mistake of Mr Klaassen. It is therefore remarkable that Klaassen himself proposes the solution to this problem: an integral hour registration system. After Yantai’s first year of preparation, however, this system was abandoned!
DAG, together with other parties, is of opinion that this cannot be without consequences.
A full version of our shared statement with Lijst Calimero and the One Man Gang, supported by the entire staff section of the University Council, can be read here. (in Dutch)
The report can be found here (in Dutch)