SSH to compensate Diaconessenhouse residents

SSH is joining the RUG and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in compensating the students living at the Diaconessenhouse. SSH will pay the current residents 50 euros in addition to the 100 euros the RUG and Hanze have promised to contribute.

Jolien Stokroos, the manager of SSH’s Groningen office, was glad to hear the news when the decision was made on Tuesday afternoon at the head offices in Utrecht. ‘I had advised them to contribute, but it wasn’t my decision to make’, she says.

Easier said than done

While the RUG and the Hanze have both expressed their commitment to compensating their respective students, Stokroos suggests that may still be easier said than done.

The academic intuitions want to pay back the students who were living in De Huismeesters-maintained property last semester, ‘but we don’t necessarily have the right bank account details for those who have already left the country’, Stokroos says. ‘Some students had a temporary Dutch bank account while they were here, but if they are living outside of Europe now, then it will be difficult to get their information.’

Second best option

The compensation efforts from the RUG, Hanze and now SSH have been described as a second best option by members of the University Council. The board of the RUG initially wanted the rent to be lowered at the beleaguered international student house, and Stokroos reports that SSH’s management team travelled to Groningen in December to discuss that possibility with De Huismeesters.

‘It was really frustrating to face so much opposition from the property owners and to see how unwilling they have been to budge on this matter’, Stokroos says. She also emphasises that SSH has made repeated efforts to persuade De Huismeesters to lower the rent, to no avail.

As of now, the RUG and the Hanze intend to compensate their students who lived in the fall in the Diaconessenhouse 100 euros, and SSH plans to pay the current residents 50 euros. On average, the students living in the house pay 400 euros per month in rent.