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4. A Safe and Healthy Campus

One Team of Confidential Advisors

The university used to have a variety of local and central confidential advisors, but since 2020 the nine confidential advisors have operated as one team. 

All team members are appointed by the Executive Board and listed in the register of confidential advisors. This should ensure better guidance, information and prevention, supported by annual (re)training and a reporting obligation. Executive Board President Daniël Wigboldus hopes that people know how to find the team. “Please talk to someone about it: do not keep it to yourself (...) The past year also once again demonstrated how important it is to work together to create a safe study and work environment in which we take care of each other. That is not always a given.”

Within the team, each confidential advisor has a specific expertise. Accessibility to the international community is ensured thanks to several advisors who speak English very well. The university’s attention to this topic is in response to national research by the labour unions FNV and VAWO, in which social safety was mentioned as a structural problem at universities. In 2020, Radboud University also adopted an amended ‘undesirable behaviour’ regulation.

The confidential advisors submit an annual report to the Executive Board. The Executive Board discusses the reports confidentially with the participational bodies.




Confidential advisors for undesirable behaviour for staff members


Number of people who asked to meet



Confidential advisors for undesirable behaviour for students


Number of people who asked to meet



Confidential advisor for labour conflicts


Number of people who asked to meet



Confidential advisor for Academic Integrity


Number of people who made a report



Confidential advisor for Whistleblower’s Regulation


Number of people who made a report



Attention to social safety was put on the agenda in 2020 after reports of intimidating behaviour at a faculty. The university’s administration then launched an external investigation into the social safety and behaviour within that faculty. According to Anneriek de Heer, HR division director, this underscores the importance of having a strong team of confidential advisors: “Now, if something happens, a team is ready to take action: what do we do with the complaint, who will handle it, what is the process?”

‘Now, if something happens, a team is ready to take action’

- Anneriek de Heer

The faculty to which the complaints referred has started a ‘culture track’ in which all sections can have their say about behaviour that is considered normal and about maintaining a proper professional attitude within an informal culture in which students and staff work closely together. Under the guidance of an external consultancy, this process will contribute to a university-wide code of conduct.

Screening Staff Members in Higher Management Positions

For the purpose of integrated security, the Executive Board has decided – with approval from the Works Council – to start a pilot for the screening of staff members, particularly new ones, in higher management positions. This is intended to limit the risk of unethical behaviour. The intensity of the screening will depend on the vulnerability of the position and must be proportionate to the position.

Depending on the content and risks associated with the position, screening may vary from requesting a certificate of good conduct (VOG) to checking for evidence of financial misconduct or whether the candidate has their own business. The pilot, which will be carried out with the help of an external consultancy, will start in early 2021 and be evaluated after two years. The Works Council will be informed of its progress in the meantime.

Healthy and Vital Campus Tenants

In light of the working from home and irregular opening hours of the Radboud Sports Centre, various actions were launched to promote the vitality of students and staff members. One of these was Vitality Week in October 2020, an initiative from Wij zijn Groen, Gezond en in Beweging Nijmegen (We are Green, Healthy and Moving in Nijmegen). During that week, 206 people took part in workshops and interactive lectures about nutrition, exercise, sleep and mental issues. In addition, the Sports Centre has uploaded a wide range of exercise videos to YouTube, which have together been viewed more than 200,000 times.

Vitality was also encouraged through gROW; their ‘Working from home during COVID-19’ course was a frequently clicked icon containing e-learnings, exercise videos, articles and tips. Another icon in gROW includes sessions about sleeping better and desk-fit exercises. The Career course icon (with e-learnings and career workshops) was also popular. Expertise Centre Development (ExpO) offered interviews with a personnel advisor, and additional groups were active in the vitality programme Fit@Work. This will be continued in 2021. Together with other departments, ExpO also contributes to measures targeting workload.

In the wake of government measures, the university has issued new guidelines to discourage smoking. The campus has been completely smoke-free since 2020 (apart from the public road). This also applies to the grounds of Radboud university medical center and HAN University of Applied Sciences. By introducing smoking cessation coaches, the university is going further than the government prescribes.

Anneriek de Heer, HR division director: “We know how addictive smoking is. That’s why it’s not enough to simply point out the ban. We prefer to offer help. That is what we mean by being a good employer.” Staff members and students can join the smoking cessation programme offered by the Department of Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Service (AMD).

Absenteeism at Radboud University (excluding the Faculty of Medical Sciences) decreased to 3.3% in 2020 (2019: 3.6%)[1]. That figure may have been influenced by COVID-19, based on the idea that staff working from home are less likely to call in sick. Despite the decline in the sickness absence percentage, the health and well-being of staff members continues to receive attention at all levels of the organisation. The university gives high priority to sustainable employability and devotes ongoing attention to the well-being and development of its staff members.

  • 1 The total number of weighted absence days compared to the total number of weighted contract days of a regular staff member in a year. Weighted absence days are the absence days in relation to the occupational disability percentage.