Organisation - May 27, 2010

Professor or citizen

Text:
Gastredacteur

Board chairman Aalt Dijkhuizen thinks that professors should remember what they are professors of

Board chairman Aalt Dijkhuizen thinks that professors should remember what they are professors of, and what they are discussing in their capacity as ordinary concerned citizens (petition against intensive livestock farming, Resource of 17 May). It seems as though Dijkhuizen would like to be surrounded by highly specialized experts who either (a) are unwilling or unable to pass judgement on matters outside their subject area, even though they affect us all as citizens, or (b) have a blind faith in the good cooperation between themselves and policymakers in The Hague.
In short, he wants WUR staff to stand behind the minister through thick and thin, and to stick to their subjects exclusively, even if as articulate thinking citizens they have substantial criticisms of the policies being implemented by the minister and of developments in the agriculture sector, and in intensive livestock farming in particular. Should they have criticisms and be authorized by the WUR management to express them, their views must be forwarded to The Hague by the management in the customary way. And it should stay that way, apparently, even though we can see that over the decades this has brought little or none of the drastic change that is needed. Citizens are speaking out more and more, and that goes for WUR professors too. Although there are only 25 of them, managers can and should take advantage of this.
Gatze Lettinga, emeritus professor Environmental Technology

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