Rector should not present his farewell speech in Dutch
What an excellent rector we have had over the past seven years. You combined charm and friendliness with vision, daring and powerful administration. Your successor will have a difficult job! It is understandable that you are worried about the situation within Dutch universities, in which people are dissatisfied and choosing to leave academia. I appreciate the fact that you also want to get involved in the public debate about the future of the university! But what concerns me are your closing words from the interview in NRC of February 6th (under the header Why review theses three times?). The article ends as follows: At the Dies of the university this coming March, marking the end of his rectorate, he will speak in Dutch. “We are a Dutch university”.
Huh, a Dutch university? I wonder what you meant by that? If the intention was to throw a small prey to the wolves in the woods of “the native (i.c. Dutch) university first”, I can understand that but I still think it is unwise. In my opinion, it would have been better to say:
“we are a university based in the Netherlands (and there are no plans to move to China), which is financed to a considerable extent by public funds, and which therefore wants to strengthen the quality of its education and research in a rapidly internationalising society as much as possible, and which therefore strives to be an international university'.
I would have understood that better. But then the piece in the newspaper would probably have become too long and nuanced. Still, it is a pity that our recently appointed professor from America can't understand your - undoubtedly wise (and I honestly believe that) - words during the Dies (but I suppose there will be a translation?).
Vale, Rector Magnificus!
Henk van Rinsum