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Foto: Wouter van der Wolk (UvA)

Fired UvA anthropologist gets total compensation of €130,000

Dirk Wolthekker,
9 maart 2023 - 11:52

In the dismissal case involving cultural anthropology professor Niko Besnier, the UvA has had to pay him a gross amount of nearly €130,000. Of this, €44,000 is transitional compensation and €85,000 is “fair compensation” for damages suffered. The court announced the verdict (in Dutch) last week.

Folia reported on the dismissal case involving Professor Niko Besnier last November after communications surrounding the case were leaked, including several intercepted e-mails from Dean Agneta Fischer. The case was not about sexually transgressive behavior, but “highly intimidating behavior” which several employees had complained about.
The UvA had an external investigation conducted by the consultancy firm Fijbes. The firm did not conclude that Besnier should leave, but the UvA did, after which a lawsuit ensued.

One of the striking issues in the case was that Besnier - who, according to the dean, “has an excellent academic reputation” - had never been formally addressed by the faculty about his behavior. He had also consistently received “positive evaluations.”
The judge was therefore quite surprised that the UvA wanted to fire Besnier and also believed that Fijbes’ report was “biased.” When Fischer heard that, she in turn was “dumbfounded.” According to her, it was “a world gone mad.”
Ultimately, the judge ruled that there had been troubled labor relations, after which the employment relationship with Besnier was dissolved. The €130,000 he was given was far less than the total amount of €552,000 he had sought.