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Ombudsperson students and personnel

The ombudsperson helps (PhD)students and employees with problems or complaints. She has an independent position, is neutral and handles complaints in strict confidence: there is a duty of confidentiality. The ombudsperson aims to resolve problems informally.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a large, complex organisation where employees work for on a daily basis. Nevertheless, something can go wrong that makes you feel duped as a student or employee and for which you want to make a complaint. It is in the interests of students, employees 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 employees and to converting complaints into points for improvement.

The ombudsman for students is Pelin Zengino─člu MSc. The ombudsman for personell is drs. Lies Poesiat. From 15 April, she will be succeeded by Ms Jacqueline Schoone.

More information

  • Who is entitled to use the ombudsman's services?

    All current (PhD)students and employees can call in the ombudsman. A complaint can also be submitted after you as a student have completed your study. A prerequisite is that the complaint must relate to incidents that took place while studying at VU Amsterdam.

  • What types of issues does the ombudsman deal with?

    As a student

    You can contact the students ombudsman with complaints about incorrect application of legislations and regulations, about the organisation, the education or about the conduct of an employee. But your complaint can also be about the organisation or accessibility of the university facilities. If you feel you have been treated unreasonably, you can discuss this with the ombudsman. 

    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.

    Your complaint must relate to incidents that took place less than one year ago. Exceptions can be made for special cases.

    As an employee 

    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. 

    Managers may also contact the ombudsman personnel. The ombudsman has a duty of confidentiality and complaints are treated confidentially.

  • What information will the ombudsman require?

    The ombudsman will need information about the following:

    • 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 (bring any correspondence about your case); 
    • Your name, address, telephone number, and email address.

    Anonymous complaints will not be processed.

  • What will the ombudsman do?

    A conversation with the ombudsman is confidential: there is a duty of confidentiality. The ombudsman will discuss with you the ways in which the problem might be solved. This could be achieved by:

    • making inquiries
    • referral 
    • offering advice 
    • mediating 
    • dealing with the matter officially and issuing official advice 

    The ombudsman provides information about relevant regulations, procedures and what your rights, obligations and options are. The ombudsman also assists in problem analysis. If the problem can be resolved by another body, then the ombudsman will refer you to the body in question, for example the confidential counsellors. 

    The ombudsman will, with your permission, 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.

    Formal investigation

    In the event that mediation is no longer possible or has not yielded results, a formal investigation can be initiated. You 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. 

    Further see

  • Contact the ombudsman students

    Ms. Pelin Zengino─člu MSc
    Ombudsman for students

    Email: *
    Call or WhatsApp: +316 2762 5636 (Available from Monday to Thursday between 9:00 and 17:00)

    Visiting address
    WN-gebouw, Office S-246
    De Boelelaan 1081
    1081 HV Amsterdam

    Mailing address
    De Boelelaan 1105
    1081 HV Amsterdam

    * Please include your phone number in the email message. An invitation for an interview will follow as soon as possible.

  • Contact the ombudsman personnel

    Ms. drs. E.J. (Lies) Poesiat
    Ombudsman personnel 

    Email: *
    Call or Whatsapp: +31 (0)6 2762 5636

    Visiting address
    WN-gebouw, Office S-246
    De Boelelaan 1081
    1081 HV Amsterdam

    Mailing address
    De Boelelaan 1105
    1081 HV Amsterdam

    * Please include your phone number in the email message. An invitation for an interview will follow as soon as possible.

  • Regulations and annual reports