You can approach any confidential adviser for undesirable behaviour at the UvA, irrespective of your department/unit or faculty. There are also special confidential advisers for PhD candidates at the Faculty of Social Sciences. . The confidential advisers work in accordance with the guidelines of the Landelijke Vereniging voor Vertrouwenspersonen (Netherlands Association of Confidential Advisers).
Please note that, despite the current corona measures it is still possible to contact the confidential advisers. You can call or email them to arrange an appointment via Teams, Skype or Zoom. Questions or complaints are always treated confidentially. The confidential adviser only takes action if the student or employees agrees to this.
Karin Venetis studies Psychology in Groningen, after which she got a PhD in Marketing from the Economics faculty of the University of Maastricht. After that she combined her academic career with marketing advice. At the UvA's faculty of Economics & Business she lectures in Marketing and is responsible for the Executive Business Administration programme. She is also responsible for teacher professionalisation within the newly launched Teaching & Learning centre for the faculty and has served as quality controller and intermediary between Business Administration Master's thesis students and their (external) supervisors for many years.
As a confidential adviser Karin want to help colleagues deal with the authority and status structures within the university, which can be pretty vague. She also hopes to assist them in navigating the many different forums and bodies that can play a role in the kind of sensitive issues people contact a confidential adviser about. The complexity of a university can make it more difficult to grasp and deal with the hierachical structures but also offers additional sources of asssitance many do not know about.
'Within the research school ASCA I have been active as a point of contact for PhD candidates for a long time. Because of this, I am familiar with the delicate situation that springs from the power imbalance and dependency with which many of the university’s staff members and students are dealing. I will gladly help think of ways to deal with eventual conflicts and will hopefully be able to contribute to balancing relations.
In addition, as confidential advisers, we will inform management and the representative advisory bodies about what is going awry in the workplace. Therefore, I would like to encourage anyone who encounters undesirable behaviour to report it. It is important that these things come to the surface so that management can repair and enhance trust by reacting adequately and transparently."
Eloe Kingma has been the managing director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis since 1994.
Erik Laeven is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies and has worked in the field for some twenty years. He trained in Theatre Studies, and now works in a team giving practical courses in film and television. His specialist area is dramaturgy.
'One of the worst things if you have a problem is having no-one to share it with. It is essential be heard and acknowledged. Particularly when it comes to undesirable behaviour, which can be a hard subject to bring up at the best of times. People often think they are exaggerating, that it will pass, that it's their own fault or that they could suffer the consequences if they report it. As a result, some cases of intimidation, sexual harassment, bullying, aggression and discrimination never come to light and people simply aren't aware of undesirable forms of behaviour within their own corporate culture. Initially, people tend to keep problems to themselves for too long. Students and staff who feel threatened by undesirable behaviour need someone they can talk to in confidence about the situation and their options. This is why I became a confidential adviser.'
"A university needs to be a safe place for students as well as staff members. Nobody should feel intimidated, discriminated against, threatened or excluded. Still, such incidents do occur, even at universities. Do seek support if something happens to you. The confidential advisers are here to help you find a solution. You can turn to them, no matter how delicate your problem. They have a duty of confidentiality, so anything you discuss with them will remain between the two of you.
As emeritus professor (of Modern Dutch Literature) with a 0% appointment I think I can fulfil this position in a valuable way. I no longer have interests that might interfere with matters that are brought to the fore. Sexual harassment, bullying, aggression and discrimination must not be tolerated at the University of Amsterdam, and this is something I hope to be able to contribute to."
Marita Mathijsen is emeritus professor of Modern Dutch Literature
Erik van Arkel has been a coordinator of operations in the Public Law department since 1 September 2017. He previously worked in operations and management in central government and ran his own business CATREAL.COM, which aims to help people and organisations to boost their resilience.
'As a confidential adviser, I want to help create a UvA environment in which people feel safe and where diversity is respected and valued.'
Mirjam Koelewijn is a communications officer at Social Sciences.
'I currently work at the College and Graduate School of Social Sciences since 2012 as a communications officer. In the spring of 2016 I was appointed as confidential adviser at the Faculty of Social Sciences. I am happy this role allows me to contribute to a healthy working climate at the UvA.
I like to offer guidance and a sympathetic ear to staff and students who have experienced undesirable behaviour. Safety, prudence and clarity are very important to me. A number of courses in non-violent communication have taught me how to really hear what people are going through. I can quickly get an idea of situations and of people's feelings and needs. I have noticed how valuable this is in my work as a confidential adviser.
If you are experiencing are have experienced undesirable behaviour, in any form, please don't hesitate to contact me. The easiest way to reach me is by email. Send me an email and I will get in touch as soon as possible.'
Anna has worked for the UvA since 2009, first at the Amsterdam Business School and, since 2011, for the Communication Science programme. There she serves as Secretary to the Examination Board and is responsible for staffing.
"Everyone should feel comfortable in the place they work or study. If this is not the case because you experience undesirable behaviour and that environment does not feel safe, it is very important that you are able to talk about this freely, knowing it won't be discussed with anyone else. I am here to listen and, if you wish, advise you on steps that can be taken to resolve the situation."
Dr Stefania Grecea is Associate Professor at Van ’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences where she leads her own research team with expertise in functional inorganic and hybrid inorganic-organic materials.
She also coordinates the first-year practical labs in the Chemistry Bachelor’s programme, and teaches courses on functional materials and catalysis for sustainable energy in the third year and in the Master’s.
As confidential adviser for undesirable behaviour, she aims to contribute to a cooperative, pleasant and safe working atmosphere.
Martijn has worked as a lecturer and researcher in biology in the Faculty of Science since 2000. He is a Professor of Phytopathology at the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences. He has successfully supervised five PhD candidates and is now supervising another four.
'I believe that making employees feel safe at work is essential to the health of any organisation, including the Faculty of Science. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. This is why it is important to have someone you can talk to about a situation in complete confidence, and discuss your options for improving it and the steps you could take. Although the situations that come to light are far from pleasant, helping someone to see a way out or simply listening to their side of the story can be a very satisfying task. To me, every conversation I have with an employee is part of a joint learning process, and adds to my experience.'
'Lydia Sprenger graduated in social psychology and started work as an editor and copywriter in the Communications department of the Faculty of Science in 2014. In this capacity, she writes the ‘Docent Uitgelicht’ column, in which lecturers from the Faculty are interviewed about their teaching. Outside her work at the UvA, she also writes for the FD newspaper and writes her own blog ‘Fat in the Head’.
A friend once told her: ‘It's so nice that you don't judge’. She takes the same approach in her job as a confidential adviser. In her experience, it is often a fear of being judged that stops people who encounter undesirable behaviour from speaking out and makes them feel isolated.'
Hélène Boeren has worked for the Executive Staff of the UvA since 2003. She is employed as official secretary to the Doctorate Board and policy officer for the Office of the Rector.
'I applied to become a confidential adviser because I feel everyone should feel safe and comfortable studying and working at our university. Discrimination, sexual intimidation, bullying and aggression have no place here.
If you do experience undesirable behaviour I am here for you. I can provide a sympathetic ear and, if you want, I can provide information about the various options open to you, and help you think them through. I will treat the information you share with me in the strictest confidence. I am only allowed to break this confidentiality if you give me permission to share information with specific other parties in my capacity as confidential adviser. You are the one who decides, and I will only take action if you want me to.
You can contact me via email or phone. I will do my best to make an appointment with you as quickly as possible, naturally taking into account the need to preserve confidentiality.'
Gijs Grob is an operational administrator for SIS in the AC. He also gives training courses in Microsoft Excel to UvA and AUAS staff. He has worked for the UvA since 2013 and has been a confidential adviser since 2018.
'I became a confidential adviser because I want to help people and consider it important that the UvA provides a safe, comfortable working environment. I think that everyone deserves a chance to talk openly without being judged because everyone is equally important. I am a good listener and I'm happy to help look for a solution if that's what someone wants.'
Rixt works as a project leader at the Alumni Relations Office and University Fund. Her work involves organising career development programmes for alumni, maintaining contact with alumni groups and organising lectures, guided tours and other events such as the Academic Book Club. Rixt has worked for the UvA since 2000 and has been a confidential adviser since 2014.
'Within the University it is important that students and staff have someone they can contact to talk about concerns without judgement and without any necessary consequences. When someone contacts me I try to schedule an appointment within two days. I am a good listener and can help think through difficult situations that can occur during your studies or in the workplace.'
Kasper Abcouwer has worked for the University Library since 2001, first as a technical library officer, then as a subject librarian at the Pierson Revesz library and, from 2004 as an information specialist at the Faculty of Science. Apart from his traditional library duties, Kasper also focuses on the quantitative measurement of scientific publications (bibliometry). One of his bibliometric projects is uva-view. After hisdegree in physical geography at the UvA he worked for various organisations in Ecuador before returning to the UvA in 2001.
'If you experience undesirable behaviour at work you try to find a solution, and sometimes that works. As a confidential adviser I am on your side, everything we us stays between us and I will never take action without your consent. I will take the time to investigate with you what the best way is for you to tackle the situation.'
Inge van der Stap works as a policy officer at ACTA and has been a confidential adviser since 1 September 2020.
Inge studied cultural anthropology and religious studies at the University of Amsterdam. As a diversity officer, she is committed to a safe and inclusive study and work environment where all students and staff feel safe and welcome, and can develop themselves.
Listening without prejudice and asking questions with genuine interest is how Inge fulfills her task as a confidential adviser. As confidential adviser, she can support staff and students and find solutions. Inge is also available if you just need a listening ear.
Inge van der Stap
M: 06 115 35 302 (Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri)
Gerrie Veenstra has been a general practitioner since 1994 and affiliated with ACTA as a lecturer on oral medicine since March 2020. She had her own doctor's practice until 1 January 2020.
As a general practitioner, I was a counselor for many patients. I heard many personal stories, which do not always suggest a safe environment was present in some people's lives.
Listening and being there for others, and finding solutions together, has been an important part of my job, first as a general practitioner and now as a confidential adviser, who is accessible and trusted.
I hope to contribute to a safe environment at ACTA, so that the work climate is pleasant for everyone.
T: 06 262 96 946 (Wednesday and Thursday)
A number of different confidential advisers work at the UvA. Besides confidential advisers for undesirable behaviour, there is, for instance, a confidential adviser for one’s individual legal position and one for academic integrity. Please refer to the overview on the Confidential Advisers website.