Leendert Klaassen will lead an independent investigation of how many hours staff at the University of Groningen actually spent on preparations for the planned Yantai branch campus.
Translation by Traci White
Klaassen, who is currently the interim mayor of the municipality of Westerwolde, served as the chairperson of the executive board at Stenden University of Applied Sciences from 2011 until January of this year. Stenden, which recently merged with NHL, has four international branch faculties in Qatar, Indonesia, Thailand and South Africa.
OOGTV reports that Klaassen’s investigation will be separate from previously announced research by the Education Inspectorate into the nature of the finances used to pay for the preparations. A statement from the University of Groningen has stated that the academic institution “welcomes the investigation”.
In late August, outgoing leader of student political party DAG, Jasper Been, came forward with information alleging that the University of Groningen had used creative bookkeeping to reclassify public funds as private in order to use them on the Yantai preparations. Been based his conclusions on documents he obtained through a series of Freedom of Information Act requests.
The Yantai project was the university’s planned branch campus in the Chinese city of Yantai, which was voted down by the university council. The university has denied the allegations brought to light by Been, including the suggestion that many university employees spent far more hours working on the preparations than were ultimately registered. Klaassen’s investigation will look into that aspect in particular.