900 members of the embattled student association cut their ski-trip short
Mayor Koen Schuiling of Groningen has praised Vindicat for remaining calm during the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak. The association cut short its annual ski-trip in Sestriere in Italy due to advice from the National Dutch agencies for public health and infectious diseases (the RIVM and GGD). The Mayor has called for general calm around the outbreak, saying that people “bring in all sorts of things that are not relevant, but that cause a lot of unrest, and that is not necessary”.
Regarding Vindicat, Mayor Schuiling believes that this student association deserves a compliment, because while staying in Italy with 900 students it remained in close contact with the health-authorities throughout the week and followed all advice.
Mayor Schuiling said in an interview with the Dagblad van het Norden that: “I am a bit worried about the fact that RIVM and GGD give good advice, but that people problematise things for themselves.”
Mayor Schuiling finds suggestions that the Vindicaters should never have left or quarantined on their return as not justified. This goes against official advice in several countries that recommend that everyone who has travelled to a virus-hit area self-isolate for two weeks upon their return. It is not clear if Mayor Schuiling is following advice of the RIVM in his statement.
This is not the first time that Vindicat has been in the news in recent years. Its ‘induction’ ceremonies have drawn criticism following several high-profile stories of ‘hazing’ rituals where new recruits have been sent to hospital with head injuries (among other incidents). The student association has also come under fire following some of its members creating a ‘bang list’ of female members, and an article in the members magazine ‘De Ster’ that named a ‘slut of the summer’. The associations behaviour was deemed so bad in 2018 that both the Hanzehogeschool and University of Groningen severed financial ties for a year as punishment.
The previous Mayor even threatened to close the association for good, having been found to have misled police after a violent incident.