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Confidential adviser, complaints and disputes

Confidential advisor

You can talk to a confidential advisor for advice and support whenever you have to deal with unacceptable behaviour, like intimidation, (sexual) harassment, aggression, violence, discrimination, bullying or stalking, or when faced with a conflict in your work situation connected to such behaviour.

  • Read more about confidential advisors

    The Executive Board has appointed four members of staff to act in the capacity of confidential advisor.
    These four employees perform their duties as confidential advisor in addition to their regular job.

    The confidential advisor advises and supports individual staff members who are confronted with unacceptable behaviour like intimidation, (sexual) harassment, aggression, violence, discrimination, bullying or stalking. UT staff can also approach the confidential advisor in case of a workplace conflict related to or arising from unacceptable behaviour.
    PhD candidates, too, may call on the confidential advisor. Bachelor's and master's students may not, however. These students can approach any of the student counsellors should they be confronted with unacceptable behaviour.

    The confidential advisor is fully authorized to make enquiries and obtain all information reasonably required to obtain a clear picture of the nature and scope of the problem.
    The confidential advisor will maintain the strictest confidentiality with respect to such information as a matter of course. The confidential advisor is not impartial but acts for the benefit of the employee. The confidential advisor acts independently from the employer. The confidential advisor is not after the truth of the matter but is there to help you find a solution for the problem. Should the actions taken together with or on the advice of the confidential advisor fail to achieve the desired result, you could consider submitting a formal complaint to the Executive Board. The confidential advisor may advise you on this procedure. Should you so wish, the confidential advisor may also support you during the procedure.

    The Code of conduct for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour (see dowload below), established by the Executive Board on May 22, 2018, aims to provide safeguards for a proper and encouraging working and study environment at the UT. The code of conduct also described the various forms of unacceptable behaviour as well as the procedures to end such behaviour.

    • Contact confidential advisors at the UT

      The executive board has appointed the following staff members on confidential advisors. The confidential advisors are not faculty-related. You can freely choose who you want to contact.

      V.W.A. Ligtenberg (Veronique)
      V.W.A. Ligtenberg (Veronique)
      Supporting Staff L.L. olde Scholtenhuis (Léon) L.L. olde Scholtenhuis (Léon)
      Assistant Professor
    • Advice and mediation

      The confidential advisor acts as a sounding board and mediator. The confidential advisor is not a judge. The confidential advisor can, however, issue advice, mediate between parties or call in the aid of a professional mediator. The confidential advisor can also ask for more information if such is necessary to gain a clear insight into the problem. Safeguarding your interests always takes central stage. The confidential advisor will always uphold the confidentiality of everything you tell him or her.

    • Confidential and independent

      The confidential advisor will listen to you, issue advice and support you in finding a solution to your problem. You can always trust that the confidential advisor will uphold the confidentiality of everything you tell him or her. The confidential advisor will never take any action you did not agree to.

      The confidential advisor acts independently from the employer and this independence is guaranteed and protected by the employer.

Complaints and complaint procedure

In addition, you can lodge a formal complaint with the Executive Board. Such a complaint should always concern a particular action. Such actions may be unacceptable behaviour as detailed in the above, but may also be other forms of improper conduct by a staff member, by a university body or administrative authority, or by the University of Twente in general.

  • Complaints procedure

    A complaint should always concern a particular action. Both an 'act' and an 'omission' can constitute an action. The latter applies when you believe the University of Twente, UT staff members or a UT body should have done something but have neglected to do so. Your complaint may concern both an 'act' or an 'omission' you believe to have been improper. You may address the matter informally, but may also bring a formal complaint by way of a complaints procedure. You can initiate this procedure by writing a letter of complaint to the Executive Board.

    The University of Twente's complaints procedure details how complaints are processed. The complaints procedure covers a very wide range of affairs. Complaints may be about the guidance provided by a teacher, for instance, or about uncollegial collaboration, discrimination, aggression or sexual harassment. Students (including upcoming and former students) are to lodge their complaint with the University of Twente Complaints Desk. Everyone else - including UT staff members, guest lecturers, visitors and trainees - are to submit their complaint in writing to the Executive Board.

    A written complaint is to meet a number of formal requirements. In principle, a complaint is to be submitted within one year after the action that is the subject of the complaint occurred. The UT is not held to consider a complaint submitted after this term and will do so in extraordinary cases only.

    The complaint is reviewed by an independent complaints committee. The hearing, during which both the complainant and the accused are given the opportunity to orally elaborate their positions, forms an important part of this review. The complaints committee lays down its findings in a written advice. The Executive Board subsequently comes to a decision on dealing with the complaint, basing itself on this written advice.

    For the entire complaints procedure, the Dutch language prevails. This is because the procedure is based on Dutch laws and regulations, including the General Administrative Law Act, the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities, several codes of conduct and the University of Twente Complaints Procedure (regulation).

    Should you disagree with how the complaint is dealt with by the Executive Board, you may lodge a complaint with the National Ombudsman.

    • Complaints committee composition

      All formal complaints are reviewed by an independent complaints committee: the University of Twente Complaints Committee. The members of this committee are appointed by the Executive Board.

      The University of Twente Complaints Committee is composed of:

      • a chairperson and deputy chairperson, both external appointments (and therefore not engaged by the Executive Board), namely drs. Y.J. Bouwman-Bakker and J. Wesseling-Lubberink, LL.M.;
      • two members nominated by the University of Twente, namely H.A. Akse, MSc (Faculty of Science and Technology), J.F.C. Verberne (Formerly Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science)
      • two members nominated by the University of Twente HR Consultative Body (OPUT), namely W.C.J. Beekman, LL.M., and L.J.M. Ketting, LL.M.

      Any complaints committee dealing with a specific complaint is comprised of a chairperson, one UT member and one OPUT member. Any complaints committee member who is a direct colleague of the complainant and/or the accused or is in any other way familiar with any of these persons may not be included in the composition of the committee concerned, so as to avoid any appearance of bias.

      The complaints committee is supported in its substantive and administrative tasks by its secretary, V. Trifunovic. 
      For more information on the complaints procedure, please contact her by email or via telephone extension 7899. Mrs Trivunovic is generally available at the UT on Mondays and Wednesdays.

      The complaints committee annually renders account of its work to the Executive Board in a report. All annual reports drawn up since 2010 to 2019 are available in the Dutch language to all interested parties. Send an e-mail to if you are interested 

    • Complaints committee investigation

      The complaints committee will forward the complaints letter to the person the complaint concerns. This person is referred to as the 'accused' in the complaints procedure. The accused is provided the opportunity to respond to the complaint in writing at the time the complaints letter is forwarded to him. In general, this response has to be submitted within two weeks.

      The complaints committee invites the complainant and the accused to attend a hearing. During this non-public hearing, both the complainant and the accused are provided the opportunity to explain their positions. The complaints committee may also ask them questions. Both complainant and accused may bring counsel, such as a confidential advisor or a colleague, to the hearing.

      In preparation for the hearing, the complaints committee's secretary compiles a file. This file at the least contains the complaints letter and the accused's response thereto. The complainant, the accused and the complaints committee members all receive this file prior to the hearing.

      If necessary, the complaints committee will gather additional documentation. Should this be the case, both the complainant and the accused will be informed thereof.

      The complaints committee draws up an advice based on its findings. This advice contains the report of the hearing. The complaints committee advises on whether the complaint was founded or not. The complaints committee may also advise the Executive Board to take certain measures or make certain decisions.

      The Executive Board subsequently comes to a decision on dealing with the complaint, basing itself on the complaints committee's advice. The Executive Board may deviate from the objection committee's advice in its decision, but is in that case to state its reasons for doing so.

    • Dutch language

      The complaints procedure is based on Dutch laws and regulations. The right to complain and the complaint procedure are regulated in chapter 9 of the General Administrative Law Act. Often, the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities, several regulations and/or codes of conduct will be applicable in a complaints procedure. Most of these legal documents have been translated into English, as a service to non-Dutch speaking students and employees. However, in case of a difference of interpretation, these translations cannot be used for legal purposes. In those cases, the Dutch text of the regulations is binding. For that reason, the working language of the complaints procedure is Dutch.

      Documents drawn up in a foreign language are to be translated into Dutch by the party submitting them should the complaints committee deem this to be relevant to the proper assessment of the complaint. The complaints committee generally requests that this translation is to be received within a term of two weeks.

      The hearing will also be held in Dutch. Any party with insufficient mastery of Dutch is to arrange for an interpreter at their own expense.

      The complaints committee's advice and the associated report of the hearing will also be drawn up in Dutch.

    • Formal requirements

      Students are to lodge their complaint with the University of Twente Complaints Desk. Everyone else - including UT staff members, guest lecturers, visitors and trainees - are to submit their complaint in writing to the Executive Board.

      A (written) complaint is to at least contain the following information:

      • name and address of the complainant;
      • signature of the complainant;
      • date;
      • a description of the action the complaint is about;
      • the reason for the complaint.

      The Executive Board (or, in the case of students lodging a complaint, the University of Twente Complaints Desk) forwards the complaint to the complaints committee for further consideration and advice.

      Should your complaint fail to meet any formal requirements, the complaints committee will grant you the opportunity to rectify the omission. In general, the complaints committee will grant you two weeks to do so as yet.

  • Disputes Committee
    • Disputes Procedure in outline

      The relationship between employees and their manager is mostly good. But sometimes you as an employee may be confronted with a situation where you disagree with your manager’s decision about a specific subject. In this case you must discuss the problem with your manager. If the dispute continues, you can start a formal disputes procedure.

      The Regulation on Disputes University of Twente is effective from 1 November 2020 and applies to disputes dating from 1 January 2020. The Regulation describes how disputes are dealt with. It also lists all subjects eligible for a disputes procedure according to the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Dutch Universities. These subjects are the following:

      • Staff assessment;
      • change of position without prior consultation or agreement on this with the employee;
      • refusal of promotion to a particular job grade;
      • granting, refusal, withdrawal or repayment of study facilities;
      • refusal of approval for carrying out ancillary activities;
      • compliance with salary arrangements and implementation of the individual choices model;
      • compliance with leave entitlements.

      A dispute must be submitted electronically via

      A submitted dispute must meet several formal requirements. In principle, you are required to submit the dispute within 6 weeks after your manager sent you the decision which you dispute. Disputes from the period from 1 January 2020 to 1 November 2020 can still be submitted with retrospective effect within 6 weeks after 1 November 2020. Unless exceptional circumstances apply, a dispute that is not submitted within the set time limit will not be considered.

      An independent Disputes Committee deals with the dispute. One important part of the disputes procedure is the hearing where the employee and manager can explain their standpoints in person. The Committee records its findings in its advice. Based on this advice, the Executive Board makes a decision about the dispute.

      Dutch is the prevailing language throughout the disputes procedure. The reason for this is that the disputes procedure is based on Dutch laws and regulations, including civil labour law, the Sectoral regulation on disputes for Dutch Universities and the Regulation on Disputes of the University of Twente.

      No costs are charged for the submission of a dispute. But you are liable to pay any costs you incur for legal assistance. In addition, you may also be required to pay translation costs.

    • Composition of Disputes Committee

      A formal dispute is dealt with by an independent Committee, the Disputes Committee of the University of Twente. The members of this Committee have the required expertise and are not associated with the university. They are appointed by the Executive Board.

      The Disputes Committee of the University of Twente comprises the following members:

      B. Schröder (Ben)
      B. Schröder (Ben)
      Guest Supporting Staff
      B.J. van Beek (Ben)
      B.J. van Beek (Ben)
      Guest Supporting Staff
      G.A. Vermeulen (Guus)
      G.A. Vermeulen (Guus)
      Guest Supporting Staff
      J. Höfte - Nijen Twilhaar (Jolanda)
      J. Höfte - Nijen Twilhaar (Jolanda)
      Guest Supporting Staff

      Every dispute is dealt with by a Committee consisting of a Chair and 2 members. A new committee composition is selected for each dispute. In this way, the role of Chair rotates among the above members.

      The Committee receives substantive and organisational support from the secretary, V. Trifunovic. If you require more information about the procedure, you can contact her on email at v.trifunovic@utwente or by calling 7899. As a rule, she works for the University of Twente on Mondays and Wednesdays.

      The Committee reports annually on its work to the Executive Board. The annual reports prepared from 2020 onwards are available to anyone interested and are posted on the UT website.

    • Formal Requirements for a Request

      A dispute is put to the Committee by means of a Request. This Request is submitted electronically via and must at least contain:

      • Your name, position and address;
      • The name of the manager involved in the dispute;
      • A clear description of the dispute which is the subject of the Request and, if possible, a copy of the disputed decision or comparable conclusion;
      • Your standpoints and reasons for disagreeing with the decision;
      • The date and your signature.

      The secretary monitors the receipt of Requests at the email address, confirms receipt of the Request to the person involved and starts up the dispute handling procedure.

      If your Request fails to meet one or more formal requirements, the Committee will give you an opportunity to set this right. Usually you are given two weeks for this.

    • Procedure of Disputes Committee: Hearing and Advice

      The Committee notifies the manager of the Request. In this notification, the manager is given an opportunity to respond to the dispute in writing. The manager’s reaction is referred to as the written defence in the disputes procedure. Normally, this reaction must be submitted within two weeks.

      The Committee subsequently invites the employee and the manager to a hearing. No hearing is held if the Committee Chair is of the opinion that the dispute need not be considered.

      At the hearing, which is not public, the parties can clarify their standpoints and the Committee can ask them questions, The employee and manager can ask someone, such as a trusted person or colleague, to support them during the hearing. If you wish to bring along a witness and/or an expert to the hearing, you must notify the Committee secretary of this in advance.

      The hearing will in principle take place in the physical presence of the parties concerned. A digital hearing is only possible if external circumstances make this necessary, provided the employee gives his or her consent.

      The Committee prepares the hearing by studying the case file. The secretary compiles and sends this case file to the Committee members, the employee and the manager. This case file shall at least contain the request, a copy of the disputed decision or comparable conclusion and the written defence. The employee and/or manager may also submit additional documentation up to ten days before the hearing.

      Based on its findings the Committee draws up its advice. The report of the hearing is appended to this advice. The Committee issues advice on whether the dispute is admissible (does the dispute meet all conditions to be considered?) and whether it is well-founded or not. It also gives the reasons underlying this advice.

      The Executive Board then makes a decision based on the Committee’s advice. You receive this decision from the Executive Board. If this decision diverges from the Committee’s advice, the Executive Board must explain the reasons for diverging from that advice.

    • Dutch is the prevailing language

      A disputes procedure is based on Dutch law. The CAO for Dutch Universities and various regulations are applicable in this context. In the case of differences of opinion about the interpretation of Dutch- and English-language versions of such laws and regulations, the Dutch text is binding. For this reason, Dutch is the prevailing language during the dispute procedures.

      If a party does not master the Dutch language, informal correspondence from the committee will be in English.

      The hearing takes place in the Dutch language. If at least one of the parties in the case has insufficient knowledge of the Dutch language, the University of Twente will, as a good employer and in keeping with the Official Language Policy, enlist a sworn interpreter under its own responsibility and at its own expense. The Committee Secretary will arrange the interpreter.

      Documents that are in a foreign language must be translated into Dutch by the party submitting the documents if the Committee considers this is necessary for a proper handling of the dispute. As a rule, the Committee wants to receive this translation within two weeks. If your dispute is declared wholly or partly well-founded, the University will refund the incurred translation costs to you on condition that an itemised invoice from the translation agency is presented for these costs. This refund is capped at a maximum fee per translated word corresponding with the highest fee per word that the Executive Board has agreed with its translation partners for a translation from English into Dutch (in 2020 €0.19 per word excl. VAT).

      The Committee’s advice and the appended report of the hearing are drawn up in the Dutch language. If either party does not master the Dutch language, these documents will be translated into English under the responsibility and at the expense of the University of Twente.

House of Integrity

At University of Twente we have an integrated perspective and approach on integrity policies. We have an integrated integrity programme called ‘House of Integrity’ to structure and organize various integrity policies, regulations and practices. On this page you can find all information about integrity matters within the University of Twente, for both students and employees. 

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