Following the release of a report into how the University of Groningen kept track of working hours connected to the Yantai branch campus, the RUG will have to pay 669,000 euros from private funds.
Translation by Traci White
Last year, it was suggested that the university had spent Dutch tax money – public funds – on the plans for a branch campus in the Chinese city of Yantai, despite the education ministry explicitly stating that the RUG could only use private funding on the project.
Dagblad van het Noorden writes that a report released on Thursday concluded that the hours worked by university staff on the preparations were not properly declared. According to Leendert Klaassen, the former president of Stenden University of Applied Sciences who led the investigation, Dutch law and rules provided little guidance about how the hours should be registered.
An underlying problem is that the distinction between public and private money at Dutch university has long been unclear. University initiatives are often at least partially financed through tax money, and public funds spent have to be deducted from any profits generated.
The private funds at the RUG are generated through business ventures started by the university, many of which focus on research, consultancy or technology. Last year, the University Council voted to drop plans to open a branch campus in Yantai.