The Rietveld Academie disapproves of any form of (sexual) intimidation and violence. Everyone at the academy should be able to work and study in a good atmosphere. Safety is an essential condition for this.
The board of the Rietveld Academie considers undesirable behaviour a serious problem that requires our continuous attention. The board wishes to be accountable for a safe study environment where undesirable behaviour is prevented, and for an atmosphere in which negative experiences can be discussed and will be addressed. The Rietveld Academie strives for a constructive and respectful dialogue in a safe context.
We understand that action is needed. A substantial number of persons, processes and protocols are already in place. In the recent years a number of additional initiatives have been set in motion and further steps are now being taken.
Persons, processes and protocols
A safe learning environment also means that students, former students and staff and former staff can always come to us with questions, reports and complaints about undesirable situations.
> Students and former students can contact the student counsellor, Mirjam Mazurel, mirjam.mazurel[at]rietveldacademie.nl
> Staff and former staff can contact the personnel department, Barbara Leyen (head of HR) barbara.leyen[at]rietveldacademie.nl and / or Mirna Kramer (advisor for staff of the bachelor education) mirna.kramer[at]rietveldacademie.nl.
> Staff confidentiality advisers have recently been appointed (to replace a former confidentiality adviser) and will start work on 4 January 2021.
> Those wishing to file a complaint can find the procedure for undesirable behaviour here. The complaint procedure for undesirable behaviour was recently revised to make it even more transparent and a complaint committee was set up.
> If you feel that the persons, processes and protocols in place are not sufficient to help you, you can contact the independent reporting point mores.online, a collective disclosure office for undesirable behaviour in art education.
The Rietveld Academie has various regulations, including the Integrity Code Rietveld Academie. This states that employees and the (members of the) organs of the Rietveld Academie are accountable for (the integrity of) their own conduct. If they are confronted with which violates integrity, they will first address those involved or - if applicable - make use of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Whistleblower Regulations. The regulations can be found on Rietveld Academie's website and intranet.
In addition, the academy actively pays attention to desirable behaviour and the visualisation and prevention of undesirable behaviour. Satisfaction surveys for students and staff explicitly ask about experiences with undesirable behaviour and the follow-up thereof.
New developments that have been set into motion
In 2019 the student support group was installed which developed several plans to support students, including supplementing the already existing confidential counsellor roles with the "student confidents". These persons actively approach students with questions about their well-being. They are close to the students, they know the academy well, but they are also independent of education so there’s no 'power relationship'. The student confidents will be selected and trained in the coming weeks and will start their work in early 2021.
A procedure is currently being worked on to enable a group of students to file a formal complaint through the student counsellor while remaining anonymous to the defendant. The complexity here lies in the basic principles of adversarial process and safeguarding the rights of both the complainant and the accused.
Further action is called for with regard to the topic of undesirable behaviour within the academy. We are planning to have a programme developed at short notice by independent persons in which the topic will be addressed, for example, in lectures, discussions, and workshops. They will also be asked to take up the “ombudsman” function as part of their role. This means they will be asked to critically review the processes and protocols in place within the academy with regards to undesirable behaviour. Following their review, they can advise the board on making changes such as providing extra support systems.
More improvements have been discussed recently and will be further developed.
Follow up on social media mentions
Specific cases of undesired behaviour have been mentioned in relation to the Rietveld Academie on social media, which we take very seriously. All these cases have been followed up by approaching the heads of the departments involved and the persons concerned if they are still part of our community.