Science - November 20, 2008

LEGAL CONFLICT ABOUT INTERNATIONAL CLUB

1

Members of the advisory board and the current management of the International Club are entering into a legal battle. Two weeks ago, the board had the locks changed at the building on the Marijkeweg. The next day, the club management opened the doors and went about their business as usual. Illegal, says the board. But the management says the advisory board acted illegally. Both parties have now engaged a lawyer.

A mix of international students, locals and a few university staff went to the Latin Party at the International Club on Friday 14 November.
The rules of the International Club Association stipulate that the management should hold an annual general meeting to keep the members informed about the club’s finances and activities. But this has not been done for five years, says Ben Onwuka, one of the two newest members of the advisory board. ‘To us this is quite unacceptable’, he comments. ‘The director cannot run the club for all these years without being accountable. Nobody knows where the money is going or what is happening. The old members are not even informed of the program.’

The interim director finally called a meeting about a month ago, but it was not a proper one in the eyes of the board. ‘No old members were invited and there was no financial report’, declares Onwuka. When he and his colleague did not receive an answer from the director to their request for ‘a real meeting’, they decided to fire the management and, when they got no response to this either, they closed down the club.

After re-entering the premises, the management had a lawyer write to Onwuka and his colleague to warn them against causing problems at the club. Interim secretary Harmen Boerboom, who runs the International Club together with interim director Kitty Cruden, explains, ‘The advisory board does not exist right now because the mayor and the rector of the university have to be on the board, according to the rules. And they are not. On 29 November there will be elections for a new advisory board and director.’

Anyway, says Boerboom, only members and not the advisory board are entitled to fire the management. He says AGMs have been held and minutes kept. ‘We keep strictly to the rules. Except that the mayor and rector are no longer interested in being on the advisory board – but then, those rules are based on the situation fifty years ago. Apparently these two members just want to make trouble for us.’

‘We were elected by the general meeting. If we are not on the board, I wonder who is’, responds Onwuka. Last week he went to the police to report the break-in, but the police said it was a civil case. The advisory board now awaits legal advice. Onwuka: ‘We would like to run the International Club normally again, in a transparent way.’

Apart from those involved, nobody really seems to know – or care – about the problems in the association. The university stopped sponsoring the International Club many years ago. And as long as it stays open, the students are happy. It’s about the only place in Wageningen where international students can go out at weekends.

Re:actions 1

  • Dr. Stephen Max Donkor

    It is sad to read this as a former member and twice president of the International Club. My advice is to hold a meeting in which all members ( old and new) will attend to review the issues underlying this conflict. Key will be transparency and openness to ensure that the voluntary and participatory foundations of the Club is kept.

    If an arbiter is needed I do volunteer even if it means travelling at own cost back to Wageningen. That is how important i find it since WIC is the last of the original International Clubs with the Queen Beatrix as Patron which still exists! No resources need to be spent on Lawyers rather use it for progressive programs.

    React
    • Outdated much

      This article is from 2008...


Re:act