Please note that, even if you are working from home, it is still possible to contact the confidential advisers. You can call or email them to arrange an appointment via Teams, Skype or Zoom. Questions or complaints are always treated confidentially. The confidential adviser only takes action if the student or employees agrees to this.
Coordinating confidential adviser
On 1 April, Arjen Berkvens started as coordinating confidential counsellor at UVA. In this new position Arjen will make a contribution to the further expansion and professionalisation of the work of confidential counsellors within the UVA.
Arjen Berkvens: 'I am very motivated to do this work. It is of great importance that an organisation such as a university has a safe working environment. Undesirable behaviour can cause great damage to employees, students and the organisation as a whole. If someone experiences something unpleasant, it must be possible to report it in confidence.'
Faculty of Economics and Business
Karin Venetis studies Psychology in Groningen, after which she got a PhD in Marketing from the Economics faculty of the University of Maastricht. After that she combined her academic career with marketing advice. At the UvA's faculty of Economics & Business she lectures in Marketing and is responsible for the Executive Business Administration programme. She is also responsible for teacher professionalisation within the newly launched Teaching & Learning centre for the faculty and has served as quality controller and intermediary between Business Administration Master's thesis students and their (external) supervisors for many years.
As a confidential adviser Karin want to help colleagues deal with the authority and status structures within the university, which can be pretty vague. She also hopes to assist them in navigating the many different forums and bodies that can play a role in the kind of sensitive issues people contact a confidential adviser about. The complexity of a university can make it more difficult to grasp and deal with the hierachical structures but also offers additional sources of asssitance many do not know about.
T: +31(0) 20 525 6078
Faculty of Humanities
'Within the research school ASCA I have been active as a point of contact for PhD candidates for a long time. Because of this, I am familiar with the delicate situation that springs from the power imbalance and dependency with which many of the university’s staff members and students are dealing. I will gladly help think of ways to deal with eventual conflicts and will hopefully be able to contribute to balancing relations.
In addition, as confidential advisers, we will inform management and the representative advisory bodies about what is going awry in the workplace. Therefore, I would like to encourage anyone who encounters undesirable behaviour to report it. It is important that these things come to the surface so that management can repair and enhance trust by reacting adequately and transparently."
Eloe Kingma has been the managing director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis since 1994.
'A university needs to be a safe place for students as well as staff members. Nobody should feel intimidated, discriminated against, threatened or excluded. Still, such incidents do occur, even at universities. Do seek support if something happens to you. The confidential advisers are here to help you find a solution. You can turn to them, no matter how delicate your problem. They have a duty of confidentiality, so anything you discuss with them will remain between the two of you.
As emeritus professor (of Modern Dutch Literature) with a 0% appointment I think I can fulfil this position in a valuable way. I no longer have interests that might interfere with matters that are brought to the fore. Sexual harassment, bullying, aggression and discrimination must not be tolerated at the University of Amsterdam, and this is something I hope to be able to contribute to.'
Marita Mathijsen is emeritus professor of Modern Dutch Literature
Amsterdam Law School
Myrthe van Amstel
Myrthe van Amstel has been working at the UvA since 2017. She was appointed policy officer for education in the administration department of the Amsterdam Law School at the end of 2019.
She herself is an alumna of the Amsterdam Law School. In the past, she has worked as an HR adviser, education coordinator and teacher/education developer, among other things.
As a confidential adviser, she wants to offer colleagues and students an accessible way to raise matters related to unacceptable behaviour. In this way, she wants to contribute to a healthy and safe working and learning environment at the UvA.
Erik van Arkel
Erik van Arkel has been a coordinator of operations in the Public Law department since 1 September 2017. He previously worked in operations and management in central government and ran his own business CATREAL.COM, which aims to help people and organisations to boost their resilience.
In his own words
'As a confidential adviser, I want to help create a UvA environment in which people feel safe and where diversity is respected and valued.'
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Mirjam Koelewijn is a secretary at the Child Development and Ecucation programme.
In her own words
'After various other roles at the UvA, I am now working as a secretary at the Child Development and Ecucation programme. In the spring of 2016 I was appointed as confidential adviser at the Faculty of Social Sciences. I am happy this role allows me to contribute to a healthy working climate at the UvA.
I like to offer guidance and a sympathetic ear to staff and students who have experienced undesirable behaviour. Safety, prudence and clarity are very important to me. A number of courses in non-violent communication have taught me how to really hear what people are going through. I can quickly get an idea of situations and of people's feelings and needs. I have noticed how valuable this is in my work as a confidential adviser.
If you are experiencing are have experienced undesirable behaviour, in any form, please don't hesitate to contact me. The easiest way to reach me is by email. Send me an email and I will get in touch as soon as possible.'
Executive staff and shared service units
Hélène Boeren (Executive Staff)
Hélène Boeren has worked for the Executive Staff of the UvA since 2003. She is employed as official secretary to the Doctorate Board and policy officer for the Office of the Rector.
In her own words:
'I applied to become a confidential adviser because I feel everyone should feel safe and comfortable studying and working at our university. Discrimination, sexual intimidation, bullying and aggression have no place here.
If you do experience undesirable behaviour I am here for you. I can provide a sympathetic ear and, if you want, I can provide information about the various options open to you, and help you think them through. I will treat the information you share with me in the strictest confidence. I am only allowed to break this confidentiality if you give me permission to share information with specific other parties in my capacity as confidential adviser. You are the one who decides, and I will only take action if you want me to.
You can contact me via email or phone. I will do my best to make an appointment with you as quickly as possible, naturally taking into account the need to preserve confidentiality.'
Rixt Polder (Alumni Office and Amsterdam University Fund)
Rixt works as a project leader at the Alumni Relations Office and University Fund. Her work involves organising career development programmes for alumni, maintaining contact with alumni groups and organising lectures, guided tours and other events such as the Academic Book Club. Rixt has worked for the UvA since 2000 and has been a confidential adviser since 2014.
In her own words
'Within the University it is important that students and staff have someone they can contact to talk about concerns without judgement and without any necessary consequences. When someone contacts me I try to schedule an appointment within two days. I am a good listener and can help think through difficult situations that can occur during your studies or in the workplace.'
Marjan Alberda (Facility Services/ICT Services/Administration Centre)
Marjan Alberda graduated from the UvA with a degree in Computer Science and has worked for the university since 2008, currently as a project manager at ICTS.
In her own words
“I thinks it's very important that everyone can feel safe within the UvA. That requires approachable confidential advisers you can talk to if you experience undesirable behaviour. Sometimes it can be preferable to talk to an adviser connected to your faculty or service unit, but it is important to realise that you can also choose to contact any of other confidential advisers if that is more comfortable for you. It is essential that people who experience undesirable behaviour feel they can report this to a confidential adviser who listens to them and provides support and confidentiality. That is what I want to offer.
I urge anyone working at the UvA who encounters agression, violence, discrimination, bullying or sexual intimidation to contact one of the confidential advisers. They can provide support and guidance.”
T: 06 5025 8101
Kasper Abcouwer (University Library)
Kasper Abcouwer has been working for the University Library of the UvA since 2001, first as a library technician, later as a subject specialist at the Pierson Revesz Library and since 2004 as a scientific information specialist for the FNWI. Besides the traditional library work Kasper focuses on the quantitative measurement of scientific publications (bibliometrics). One of his bibliometric projects is uva-view.
After studying physical geography at the UvA, he worked for several organisations in Ecuador before returning to the UvA in 2001.
Henriette Reerink (University Library)
Henriette Reerink graduated in history from the University of Amsterdam and has been working as a project manager and policy advisor in the Digital Services department of the UvA/HvA Library since 2006 (focus: data, AI and digital education). Working in a supportive service that is close to the primary process, she is interested in the themes of central/decentralised, informal/formal organisation and the origin of information (disinformation). With UvA-wide experience, she tries to connect different perspectives in search of solutions that stick.
In her own words:
'If you call on me, I will be there for you, listen to you and, by asking questions, try to get to the heart of the problem. I will help you clarify what you can expect from others and what you can do yourself. In our complex organisation, it is sometimes difficult to find a 'problem owner'. I am happy to help you with this, to stand by you and offer support. I am persistent with a sense of justice. Do not hesitate to email me, drop by, call me or contact me in any other way. The first step towards a solution starts with sharing your story, which may bring you some improvement, both for yourself and for the UvA.'
Faculty of Medicine
Faculty of Dentistry
Inge van der Stap
Inge van der Stap works as a policy officer at ACTA and has been a confidential adviser since 1 September 2020.
Inge studied cultural anthropology and religious studies at the University of Amsterdam. As a diversity officer, she is committed to a safe and inclusive study and work environment where all students and staff feel safe and welcome, and can develop themselves.
Listening without prejudice and asking questions with genuine interest is how Inge fulfills her task as a confidential adviser. As confidential adviser, she can support staff and students and find solutions. Inge is also available if you just need a listening ear.
Inge van der Stap
M: 06 115 35 302 (Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri)
Gerrie Veenstra has been a general practitioner since 1994 and affiliated with ACTA as a lecturer on oral medicine since March 2020. She had her own doctor's practice until 1 January 2020.
As a general practitioner, I was a counselor for many patients. I heard many personal stories, which do not always suggest a safe environment was present in some people's lives.
Listening and being there for others, and finding solutions together, has been an important part of my job, first as a general practitioner and now as a confidential adviser, who is accessible and trusted.
I hope to contribute to a safe environment at ACTA, so that the work climate is pleasant for everyone.
T: 06 262 96 946 (Wednesday and Thursday)
A number of different confidential advisers work at the UvA. Besides confidential advisers for undesirable behaviour, there is, for instance, a confidential adviser for one’s individual legal position and one for academic integrity. Please refer to the overview on the Confidential Advisers website.