External ESHCC investigation completed
The external forensic investigation at the ESHCC faculty has now been completed. During the investigation, it was confirmed by internal and external sources that active contact had taken place with a journalist from the NRC from within the faculty. This was therefore a choice to seek publicity rather than follow the procedures which are appropriate in the university world. However, the possible source was not discovered. Consequently, no measures will be taken and the Executive Board has decided to close the dossier.
In an article published in NRC on 3 June 2019, Professor Van den Boom was accused of plagiarism in annual anniversary speeches and in her dissertation. In her role as interim dean of the ESHCC, she had recently finalised her recommendations for EUR about the future of this faculty. The article resulted in discussions, created an unsafe atmosphere and was harmful to the person concerned. The Executive Board received concrete signals that active contact had taken place with the journalist. The Executive Board considers this a serious incident. Where there are any suspicions of plagiarism, there are appropriate procedures within Erasmus University Rotterdam, expressly designed to protect staff. Such a suspicion could therefore have been investigated in a careful manner, taking the privacy of those involved into account.
After thorough consideration, the Executive Board assigned an external forensic bureau to investigate the source of this incident. An investigation of this kind may be initiated based on the Regulations for Internet Use and ICT facilities for EUR staff, obviously taking all the privacy regulations into account. The investigation was thus limited in time and extent and the external bureau analysed the e-mails based on keywords. Any e-mails which did not appear relevant for this investigation after this analysis were not read and were deleted immediately. No one at Erasmus University Rotterdam has access to the investigation file containing e-mails, including the Executive Board.
The Executive Board regrets the concerns that have emerged and wishes to emphasise that the investigation was performed from the intention to create a safe environment.