Harassment accusations engulf Brussels university

Harassment accusations engulf Brussels university
The Université Libre de Bruxelles has been allegedly been covering up for a scholar accused of harassment, scientific fraud and other accusations for years. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Two professors of the Free University of Brussels (ULB) have been suspended and an internal investigation launched after revelations emerged that the institution had for years failed to respond to several harassment complaints filed by students against faculty personnel.

University Dean Yvon Englert announced the measures on Wednesday, in a video posted on Facebook in which he also declared to be "personally shocked" over a nearly hundred-page report into the matter students submitted to him a day prior.

"Past reports and signals were not taken into account and did not receive an appropriate reply," Englert said. "I have made the decision to launch an internal disciplinary procedure which will shed a light on the situation."

"I have also decided to immediately suspend two professors who are particularly incriminated by the report," he added.

The 97-page report is a compilation of testimonies describing several instances of harassment, bullying, insults and arbitrary decisions suffered by students at the hands of a small group of professors and teaching assistants of the dentistry faculty.

While the dean and other university personnel have only recently acknowledged the accusations, some students have pointed out that the situation has been ongoing for years.

The document addressed to the dean is signed by current and former students of the faculty, with the oldest testimony dating back to 2017, according to RTBF.

"If the accusations are confirmed, they are extremely serious," Englert said, adding that in an institution "as vast" as the university, it was "not unlikely" that past situations to resurface years on.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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