ISW lecturer Laurens Buijs accuses the UvA in summary proceedings of negligent protection under the whistleblower regulation. But he also acknowledges his own role in the Amsterdam court. “Sometimes my hope for a good and just outcome vanished, and my retaliatory impulse went too far.”
UvA lecturer Laurens Buijs makes a stricken impression in the Amsterdam court. Had he known all that would come his way, he says he would have “never submitted” the “whistleblower’s report” about an “acute threat to academic freedom” within his Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences (FMG), he says. He has allegedly received death threats. Buijs says: “My career has been destroyed and my personal freedom endangered.”
Buijs believes the UvA is to blame. Instead of protecting him under the whistleblower regulations against, among other things, “exclusion, intimidation, and harassment,” he was suspended by the university. This prompted Buijs to file summary proceedings against the university.
On Monday morning in court he addresses his (now former) supervisor Agneta Fisher - dean of FMG - who listens intently on the other side. “Why didn’t anyone intervene when the witch hunt against me took on national proportions?” he says, his voice breaking. “Did no one see what was behind my anger, fear and despair?”
For that he sometimes let himself go too far - mainly in Twitter posts - he now recognizes. “Sometimes my hope for a good and just outcome vanished, and my retaliatory impulse went too far,” he explains. “I regret that.”
For the UvA, these expressions of “anger” were the reason for suspending him as an ISW lecturer, the university’s lawyer said at the hearing. Buijs called colleagues and other scientists “monsters” and “extremists.” He also allegedly called Fisher a “thoroughly sick person,” among other things. “I haven’t heard that expression of regret before,” Fisher responded at the hearing. “But it’s a little late.”
Disrupted employment relationship
His inaction, according to the UvA lawyer, is completely unrelated to the external investigation that the university initiated in response to his whistleblower report. There is simply a “disrupted employment relationship,” the UvA lawyer stated during the hearing. And “after all, reporting wrongdoing is not a license to then not behave properly as an employee,” professor of labor law Evert Verhulp told Folia earlier.
The situation became unworkable after futile attempts to calm things down, according to the UvA. Measures unfortunately could not be avoided, the UvA lawyer said. “All the actions that Buijs accuses the UvA of were solely in response to circumstances other than the report.”
The lawyer for the UvA thinks both parties will agree that there was a disturbed working relationship. “Indeed, Buijs himself says on Twitter, ‘if you do not have a disturbed working relationship with such a board, then you are part of the abuses and violator of the law of the land.’ So if there was any doubt about that, he himself has hopefully resolved it with this.”
The judge will rule in two weeks, on Monday, June 5.