Groningen’s Vindicat society out of control?

If you live in a student city, chances are you have met several members of Het Corps (conglomerate of prestigious student societies in the Netherlands). You can usually spot them cycling around the city in a costume, headed to some dress-up party. Often enough they are also famous because of the happenings around the hazing period, but one particular society in Groningen, Vindicat, is becoming well-known to the police after several incidents occurred over the last two years.

In the beginning there was the Bangalist

The society became notorious to the public in 2016 after the discovery of a “bangalist”, a ranking of the female members of the society based on their sexual skills. As an association that claims to stimulate the students “to develop in all possible ways” and has as motto Mutual trust, that’s pretty low. The board of the society distanced themselves from this almanac (apparently at its third edition), but the problems didn’t stop there.

De Vindi code (Sikkom)

Vindicat and the Accreditation Committee

As a publication from the RUG states, “Incidents in the autumn of 2016 brought to the fore that it was time for a change of culture in a large number of student organizations”: in the summer of 2017 the two main university institutions of Groningen (Hanze UAS and the University of Groningen) started accrediting Vindicat under strict conditions for a ‘trial’ year. The Accreditation Committee will reassess whether the change of policy has led to visible results in this academic year, including the introduction of an association-wide code of conduct, mandatory soberness of at least 50% of introduction camp supervisors, and a more detailed registration of incidents.

The UG and the Hanze UAS, in fact, grant financial support to students who suffer study delay as a result of extraordinary family (or other) circumstances, who are elite athletes or hold a committee or participation council position. A student committee/board member can claim 6 grant months. A grant month is set at € 444.20. The maximum amount is thus € 2,665 per person, and in the case of Vindicat this amounts totally to € 33,315.

Short lived peace

Just a few weeks after the Committee announced that “Vindicat has demonstrated broad support for a policy of change in its critical self-reflection”, however, two more incidents involving the student society were reported. In one, dozens of members trashed a restaurant and left without paying the full bill, also forcing the place to open late the following day to repair the damage. During the same weekend, other Vindicat’s students had a party at the clubhouse of the rugby association, leaving the place in such a messy state that the municipality had to hire a cleaning company.

No poop no party. (credit: Sikkom)

In the same period, Vindicat also had to suspend their rowing club sub-association Aegir, banned from the opening of the academic year, after a misogynistic publication appeared in the club magazine.

Deferment of subsidies

These incidents were definitely not aligning with the desired cultural shift stipulated, earlier this summer, as a necessary condition for accreditation; hence Hanze and the RUG decided in September to suspend the yearly committee grant. Vindicat gets one year to prove that they are done misbehaving; the students can still get the scholarships retrospectively, but only if there are no new incidents.

On the other hand, if the association does not meet the conditions by next August, it could mean they are definitively cut off from financial support.

Association sobering up..?

Not exactly: just last month some of its members were filmed throwing beer and beer caps at passersby and other club mates from one of their central student houses.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG20e42XIKs[/embedyt]

What will happen next? Will the association behave, or will the municipality, RUG and Hanze bow their heads pretending all is fine? Only future will tell.

What do you think about the hazing culture? Let us know in the comment section!

Aurora Signorazzi
Aurora comes from the majestic Italian capital, and is working on her PhD in virology at the University of Groningen. She has been living in the Netherlands for four years and is by now familiar with many Dutch habits... But still finds plenty of reasons to be pleasantly amazed (most of the time) by this industrious country and its brutally honest inhabitants!

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