Stop defamation of professor Joost Herman

Stop defamation of professor Joost Herman

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Esteemed Members of the Board of the University of Groningen,

The lawsuits that you bring against Professor Joost Herman have shocked us profoundly. They also generate a lot of negative publicity for this august university. Exceptionally drastic measures have been taken against our colleague (immediate suspension, accusation of fraud, a civil claim of more than one million euros and now dismissal) without any opportunity to be heard by you as Board. We have since been apprised of the substantive documents in this case, including the report of EY’s forensic accountants. We find your attitude in the dismissal case and the terms you use simply shocking. In your supplementary petition to the judge of the lower regional court, we read your excessive and demeaning discrediting of a colleague, namely lack of 'integrity' and 'moral awareness'. It is plainly stated that Professor Herman "violated every conceivable standard expected of a good employee". To declare this before the magistrate about a person as utterly dedicated as Joost Herman is extremely unfair. We, members of the academic community, emphatically disagree with the severity of your reproaches and your use of language. We also challenge your dismissal of Joost Herman’s worrying medical condition as an "alleged incapacity for work", a claim that is as incorrect as it is humiliating.

We find it incomprehensible that you, as members of the board of the university, have not recognized the widely acknowledged service of Professor Herman on behalf of both the NOHA programme and the international image of the University of Groningen. We believe it is still possible to have an informed and open discussion about how the NOHA program has been implemented over the years in question. If it turns out that funds were not used properly, then a discussion of such a state of affairs must commence. In this way, the public and moral damage can be controlled.

The undersigned request the Members of the Board of the University of Groningen to stop what they believe to be an unfair and disproportionate treatment of Professor Joost Herman, and to desist from this course of escalation and confrontation with respect to Professor Herman, and to restore his good name.