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Disputes Procedure

If you disagree with a decision, if you feel you have been treated unfairly or if you have a complaint, there is something you can do. The nature of your dispute determines the steps you will need to take.

It is also possible to object to or appeal a written refusal to make a decision or a failure to make a decision within a reasonable timeframe (six weeks). See below for the options that apply to your situation.

Informal action
Before you take action, consider whether it might be possible to resolve the problem without formal intervention. Go to the person who has made the decision or who you believe has treated you unfairly, present your case and try to work it out together. If you cannot, you can always submit a notice of objection or a notice of appeal. You are required to do so within six weeks of receiving the decision that you wish to appeal. If the informal procedure has not been completed within those six weeks, then you may go ahead and submit a notice of objection or a notice of appeal. You are requested to submit the accompanying substantiation at a later date (‘pro forma notice of objection or notice of appeal’). The board in question will inform you of the amount of extra time you will be given. You can submit a complaint up to one year after the date.

Objection and appeal
What do you need to do to lodge an objection or an appeal? See "Objections" and "Appeals" below.

Complaints
The way in which the Executive Board or the Faculty Board, another VU Amsterdam employee, or a fellow student has treated you or someone else in a certain situation could be reason to submit a complaint. Reasons for submitting a complaint include behaviour or treatment and not decisions that have legal consequences. A complaint cannot be submitted via a notice of objection or a notice of appeal. More about complaints. Read more on "Complaints" below.

Annual reports Examination Appeals Board
The Examination Appeals Board publishes an annual report every year.
Read the annual reports [in Dutch] of 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.

Decisions of the Examination Appeals Board
View a summary of the decisions per year. Read more, available in Dutch only.

Options for disputes

  • Objection

    If you would like to submit an objection to a decision made by the Executive Board, then please submit a notice of objection with the Board. You can send it to:

    The Executive Board
    Attn: Administration Office, Ms S.A. Snoeren
    De Boelelaan 1105
    1081 HV Amsterdam

    This involves decisions about:

    • Tuition fees
    • Financial aid on the basis of the Profile Fund Regulations
    • Registration and enrolment
    • Admission to the Bachelor's programme based on other degree certificates
    • Selection and placement for degree programmes with a selection procedure
    • A violation of the general rules and the rules of order

    The notice of objection must be submitted within six weeks. A notice of objection should ideally be printed on one side only. Include a copy of the decision you object to and all other relevant correspondence. Also include your email address.

    You may also submit your notice of objection by email, in PDF format. A signature is required. Send it to bezwaarschriften.bz@vu.nl.

  • Procedure for the notice of objection

    The Executive Board will confirm receipt of the notice of objection in writing. Before the Board makes a decision on the notice of objection, it will conduct an investigation into the relevant facts and the interests to be considered, and the party involved will be given the opportunity to be heard. The hearing will be performed by the Disputes Committee. No hearing will be convened if:

    • the objection is apparently inadmissible,
    • the objection is apparently unfounded,
    • the stakeholder does not want to be heard, or
    • the objection is honoured in full.

    The Executive Board will confirm receipt of the notice of objection within six weeks. The decision will be issued in writing.

  • Appeals

    If you disagree with the decision of an examiner (lecturer) or an Examination Board, a BSA Committee or an admissions committee for a Master’s programme, then you may submit a notice of appeal to the Examination Appeals Board. The address is:

    Examination Appeals Board
    Attn: Ms A.M. van Donk, c/o Administration Office
    De Boelelaan 1105
    1081 HV Amsterdam

    This concerns for example:

    It also concerns decisions made by Examination Boards and examiners, such as:

    • Decisions regarding approval or rejection of the selected subjects
    • The refusal of an exemption
    • Penalties

    The notice of appeal must be submitted within six weeks. A form is available on VUweb which you can use to submit your notice of appeal electronically. Students of Medicine and the Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam may not use this form. If you do not have access to the form or VUweb, please submit your notice of appeal in writing and sign it. A notice of appeal should ideally be printed single-sided. Also, include your email address.

    You may also submit your notice of appeal by email, in PDF format. Email it to cobex.bz@vu.nl.

    The Board will send an initial response via email.

    Include a copy of the decision that you wish to appeal and enclose any documents that may be relevant to the assessment of the appeal, including any documents/documentary evidence/statements that you may have previously submitted to the Examination Board or the BSA committee.

    Please note: you cannot appeal a particular grade (assessment). If the grade was not arrived at in a fair way, in your opinion, (e.g. not all partial grades were counted), then you can refer the case to the Examination Appeals Board.

    Submit an appeal to the Higher Education Appeals Tribunal
    If you disagree with the decision taken by the Executive Board regarding your objection or the decision reached by the Examination Appeals Board, then you can lodge a substantiated appeal within six weeks to the Higher Education Appeals Tribunal, P.O. Box 16137, 2500 BC The Hague.

    A filing fee of €48 must be paid for the notice of appeal to be accepted for processing. This fee will be refunded to you if you are vindicated by the tribunal.

    A notice of appeal must bear your signature. It is therefore not possible to submit a notice of appeal by email.

    If you have any questions about how to submit an appeal to the Higher Education Appeals Tribunal, you can visit the website at www.cbho.nl.

  • Procedure for the Examination Appeals Board

    LODGING A NOTICE OF APPEAL

    Appeals must be submitted in writing. It is not possible to submit a notice of appeal by email. The notice of appeal must state:

    • name, address and town; student number;
    • which examiner, Examination Board or other body was responsible for the decision that you are appealing against;
    • a clear description of the decision against which the appeal is directed; including a copy of the decision. If the case concerns a refusal to make a decision, you need to describe the situation and indicate which decision should be taken;
    • the grounds for the appeal: reasons and substantiation, as well as the basis on which the appeal is being submitted;
    • date and signature. Always include the email address you use. If you’re a student, include your VU email address.

    The notice of appeal must be submitted within six weeks of the date on which the decision was issued. If the appeal is submitted late, it can only be considered if there is an acceptable reason for its late submission. The notice of appeal must be submitted to:

    The Examination Appeals Board
    Administration Office, Attn: Ms A.M. van Donk,
    De Boelelaan 1105
    1081 HV Amsterdam

    Procedure

    • The Board sends a confirmation of receipt to the individual who has submitted the notice of appeal (the appellant).
    • The Board sends a copy of the notice of appeal to the body against which the appeal was filed, and includes an invitation to work with the appellant to attempt to reach an amicable settlement.
    • An amicable settlement refers to a review of the decision based on additional arguments submitted by the appellant. This does not mean you can start a negotiation process!
    • The counterparty (defendant) is required to send the appellant an invitation to a meeting within a week of receipt of the notice of appeal. The counterparty is required to inform the Board of whether or not an amicable settlement could be reached within three weeks.
    • In the event that an amicable settlement has been reached, the procedure will be terminated.
    • If no settlement was reached the counterparty will be required to submit a written defense to the Board. In this written defense the counterparty outlines their views on the matter.
    • The Board calls both parties to a hearing. The hearing is conducted during the public session of the Board. In extraordinary cases, the session may be conducted behind closed doors. During the session, the parties’ points of view may be explained in greater detail. If necessary, the Board members will ask questions. The appellant submitting the notice of appeal may be accompanied by counsel during the session. This person can be a friend, family member or legal counsel. He or she may also bring witnesses or experts. Before the session, the appellant must inform the secretary of the names of the individuals he intends to bring as counsel or as witnesses. After the hearing, the Board will issue a decision in writing within four weeks. The decision will be sent to the parties involved.

    Extraordinary procedures

    The Board may decide to issue a decision straight away in the event that:

    • it believes the objection is manifestly inadmissible (the notice of appeal does not comply with the conditions for submission);
    • it believes the objection is manifestly unfounded;
    • parties do not want to be heard, or the appeal cannot be granted in full.
      An objection to this decision may be issued within fourteen days.

    Preliminary provision
    The President of the Executive Board may offer a preliminary provision at the student’s request in case of emergency. In this case, the merits of the dispute will be assessed later. In other words, the matter will still be discussed in the Board.

  • Complaints

    Student ombudsman

    The VU student ombudsman provides a safe and accessible setting for discussing a complaint and for deciding whether steps should be taken and what form they should take:

    Ms L. Poesiat
    Telephone number: +31 (0)20 598 5313
    WhatsApp: +31 (0)6 276 256 36

    Street address
    Mathematics and Physics Building (W&N)
    De Boelelaan 1081
    Room S 246

    Postal address
    De Boelelaan 1105
    1081 HV Amsterdam

    Complaints form

    Individual complaint

    Complaint at the faculty level. If you have a complaint concerning education, you can submit this directly to the Programme Committee. If you have a complaint concerning an examination, you can submit this directly to the Examination Board.

    Complaints of another nature can be submitted to the student ombudsman, Ms L. Poesiat, via the complaints form above. Together you can decide whether submitting a written complaint would be useful.

    Every faculty also has its own Disputes Desk. For complaints about the faculty, they are the first point of contact. For more information see your study guide or consult your faculty’s Education Office.

    If you believe that you are not being treated fairly by your faculty or if you would prefer to discuss your complaint with someone outside the faculty, then please contact the student ombudsman, Ms L. Poesiat (complaints form).

    Sexual harassment and other forms of harassment, aggression and discrimination

    If your complaint involves intimidating or aggressive behaviour from VU employees or fellow students, if you are being discriminated against or if you have experienced sexual harassment, then please contact a confidential counsellor.

    Confidential counsellors:
    Ms Mariken Blom
    De Boelelaan 1105, Room 0E-corridor
    1081 HV Amsterdam
    T +31 (0)20 59 85027
    m.blom@vu.nl

    Complaint relating to service provision

    If you are experiencing problems with the photocopier, the coffee machines, the computer rooms or if you have observed issues with other amenities, please contact the Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Service Desk.

    Location: Main Building HG 0B-01
    Tel.: +31 (0)20 598 5777