In October 2018, just before last year’s local elections it was revealed that the university had opened an investigation into four complaints made by post graduate students against Professor Vereeck, who taught economics and policy management. Former students and a university employee said that Professor Vereeck had used inappropriate language to students in Whatsapp messages and on social media.
A criminal investigation into the case was halted due to lack of evidence. Meanwhile, Hasselt University opened a disciplinary investigation. The university added the findings of the Judicial Authorities investigation in which more complainants were found to the findings of its own investigation. The university’s disciplinary commission confirms the results of the disciplinary investigation, stating that “this is clearly a case of inappropriate behaviour that is a serious violation of the ethics and dignity of the post of a professor. In particular relating to the professional relationship a professor should uphold with students”.
Professor Vereeck plans to appeal
Professor Vereeck’s solicitor Luk Delbrouck says that he plans to appeal against his dismissal as he believes that the allegations against his client have not been proven and that the sanction against Professor Vereeck is disproportionate to allegations lodged against him.
He added that his client has his own way of interacting with his students, but this should not be seen as being unethical or unprofessional.