TU/e board hindered independence of Cursor magazine

Commission is clear: TU/e ​​board hindered Cursor in free journalism

The Executive Board (CvB) of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has violated internal rules regarding the freedom of the press of its own university magazine ‘Cursor’. This is evident from research conducted by an internal committee of TU/e after a report of censorship.

The investigation, conducted by the TU/e Irregularities Reporting Committee, writes that incidents have led to a crisis of confidence between editor-in-chief Han Konings and chairman Robert-Jan Smits. The situation deteriorated to such an extent that Konings no longer felt able to carry out his journalistic work independently, according to Cursor magazine. The investigative committee states that there was no systematic censorship or structural influence.

The report covers several cases, including three articles about social insecurity at TU/e in 2021. An anonymous PhD student who talks about blackmail caused a conflict between Smits and Konings.

The Executive Board then had a ‘tough’ conversation with Konings, which he experienced as ‘intimidating’. According to the report, Konings was accused of having a ‘poor moral compass’ and was said to have been ‘vomited on’ by the members of the Executive Board. Although the article was not published, relations were irreparably damaged, the committee writes.


On October 3, 2023, Cursor’s website went black after Konings was suspended. Tensions between the editorial staff and the Executive Board ran high, partly due to conflicts over publishing critical articles.

House of Representatives

The then education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf emphasised in the House of Representatives the importance of an independent university press. The committee advises the Executive Board to maintain more professional distance and to respect Cursor’s journalistic independence.

The Executive Board and the Supervisory Board acknowledge the committee’s findings and promise improvements. Han Konings feels heard by the committee but regrets the reaction of the Executive Board and the supervisors, who mainly look ahead and reflect little on the past.

Source: www.studio040.nl
Translated by Yawar Abbas

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