Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a large, complex organization where employees work for students on a daily basis. Nevertheless, something can go wrong that makes you feel duped as a student and for which you want to make a complaint. It is in the interests of students and VU Amsterdam that these complaints are dealt with seriously. The aim of the Ombudsman's position is to contribute to VU staff providing the best possible treatment to students and to converting complaints into points for improvement.
Ombudsman students and personnel
The student ombudsman has an independent position, is impartial and handles complaints with strict confidentiality. She strives to solve problems in an informal way. Below you can read in which situations you can contact the ombudsman and how she works.
VU employees can contact the ombudsman to help analyse and solve problems or complaints, for example regarding unfulfilled promises about training or promotion, about working conditions, or about reorganisations.
Supervisors may also contact the ombudsman personnel. The Ombudsman has a duty of confidentiality and complaints are treated confidentially.
About the Ombudsman
Who is entitled to use the Ombudsman's services?
The student ombudsman helps you with problems or complaints that cannot be resolved by any other body within the university. The Student Ombudsman is Ms. drs. E.J. (Lies) Poesiat. She acts independently, is impartial, and will deal with all complaints in the strictest confidence.
All current students, and ex-students who graduated less than one year ago can call in the ombudsman. A complaint can also be submitted after the study has been completed. A prerequisite is that the complaint must relate to incidents that took place less than one year ago.
What types of issues does she deal with?
With problems or complaints that cannot be resolved by any other body within the university. For example, if you feel that the faculty has treated you unreasonably or if your rights as a student have been infringed upon (Student Statute), one of your tutors cannot be reached, or a thesis supervisor is unavailable.
Your complaint must relate to incidents that took place less than one year ago. Exceptions can be made for special cases.
You can contact the ombudsman with complaints about:
- incorrect application of legislation and regulations
- the organisation
- the education
- the behavior of an employee
- The accessibility of the university facilities
The ombudsman provides information about relevant regulations and procedures and tells you about your rights, obligations and options for resolving your problem.
For example: you feel that you have been treated unreasonably by the faculty or that you have violated your rights as a student (student statute), one of your lecturers is unreachable or a thesis supervisor is not available.
What information will the Ombudsman require?
The Ombudsman will need information about:
- What is the problem?
- Against which individual or body is the complaint being lodged?
- What is the reason for the complaint?
- In submitting the problem, what is the objective? Asking for information or advice, mediation, lodging an official complaint?
- Which facts and circumstances are related to the problem?
- Your name, address, telephone number, and E-mail address?
Anonymous complaints will not be processed.
What will the Ombudsman do?
Together, the Ombudsman and the student discuss ways in which the problem might be solved. This could be achieved by:
- making inquiries
- offering advice
- dealing with the matter officially
- issuing official advice
If the problem can be resolved by another body, then the Ombudsman will refer the student to the body in question. Problems relating to interim and final examinations can often be resolved by the examination board.
The Ombudsman will contact the individual or body in question. Only those who are directly involved are informed about the nature of the problem or complaint. Everyday experience in other universities has shown that most complaints/problems can be resolved through mediation.
In the event that mediation is no longer possible, or if the mediation intervention of the ombudsman has not yielded results, a formal investigation can be initiated. A student can request this from the Ombudsman. In that case, the complaint will always be put in writing. The ombudsman has a number of powers during the investigation. For example, it can request information from third parties, engage experts and examine the situation on the spot.
In all cases, the ombudsman hears the parties involved. Facts and circumstances are then stated as accurately as possible. After hearing both sides of the argument, areas of common ground are identified. The Ombudsman then issues a public verdict. The complaint is declared either valid, partially valid, or invalid. This verdict may be accompanied by a recommendation to those involved, to the Faculty Board, or the Executive Board. Verdicts are incorporated into the annual report, however, the identities of those involved are not revealed.
Student Ombudsman Regulations
Download the Student Ombudsman Regulations (in Dutch)
How can I contact the Ombudsman?
Mw. drs. E.J. Poesiat
Student Ombudsman Vrije Universiteit
T +31 (0)20 598 5313
Whatsapp: +31 (0)6 2762 5636
WN-gebouw, Office S-246
De Boelelaan 1081
1081 HV Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
In any E-mail message, please state your telephone number and your return E-mail address. You will be invited for a meeting as soon as possible.
- Regulations and annual reports