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“There shouldn’t be a systematic link between police and university”

Maxim: Maastricht University shouldn’t be held responsible for how students behave outside the university
Thomas Luijken of student party NovUM during the latest university council meeting whether it’s true that the police report students who misbehave to the university. Rector Gerard Mols announced that he was not interested in that kind of information. But it did happen to a German student who organised a party at Sint Pietersberg Should the university feel responsible for – and intervene in – what students do in their free time?

According to Miet Vanderhallen, assistant professor of Criminology, it depends on the situation. “I really don’t think there should be a systematic link between police and university, but I can think of situations in which the Student Service Centre (SSC) would want to have a word with the student in question too. For example; the student has caused inconvenience in a guesthouse that the SSC has arranged and has, by doing so, also broken the house rules. In other words: situations in which there is a link with the university or the SSC. But that still doesn’t mean the police should give them that information – they could hear it from other sources too.”

Lieke Berentschot, master’s student of Health Sciences, agrees with the maxim. “The university has nothing to do with the students’ private lives. What happens outside the university should stay outside the university. Everybody has a right to education; that shouldn’t be infected by the way you act outside the university. I can, however, imagine that the police and university work together if a student has committed a serious crime. Then the university can provide information like telephone numbers and home addresses.”

Reporting students to the university is not standard police policy, says police spokesperson Chris Timmermans. “In principle we don’t pass on personal details to other bodies. In fact we deal very carefully with personal information, because of the Personal Data Protection Act. In this case agreements were made with René Verspeek (the SSC director) and former mayor Gerd Leers that in very serious cases, when the public order is disturbed, information will be passed on so that the university can also address the problem. The reasons for doing this in the case of the Sint Pietersberg party were that it had to do with a large group who didn’t want to cooperate straight away when the police arrived, and that there were continual complaints about students in the area.”

 

Cleo Freriks

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