Univers halts data collection diversity survey

The data collection for the diversity and inclusion research at universities of applied sciences and universities in the Netherlands has been discontinued effective immediately. The reliability of the new data can no longer be guaranteed. No more questionnaires can be completed.

Image: Eveline Schram

Journalistic research into perceived diversity and inclusion at 19 universities of applied sciences  and universities across the country has been prematurely terminated following a publication on GeenStijl. The website published an article called ‘Non-Binary Pollfuck! Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences wants to quickly measure your inclusiveness’ in which readers were urged to fill out the diversity survey.

The article included the link to the questionnaire from the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. Responses under the article also quickly shared links to the surveys of the 18 other participating universities of applied sciences and universities.

From the time of publication on GeenStijl, it is very likely that there were many responses from outside the institutions. That renders the data useless.


Research agency Newcom, which is conducting the survey on behalf of the Kring van Hoofdredacteuren van Hoger Onderwijsmedia, has decided to stop collecting the data because, after five days, people are still responding to GeenStijl’s call to fill out the survey.

The research firm can no longer guarantee the quality and reliability of the study, according to a spokesperson: “After some reflection, we have no choice but to advise that we stop the data collection of the Diversity Monitor with immediate effect. For us, the quality and reliability of the data is paramount. Due to last week’s developments, we cannot give one hundred percent assurance regarding the reliability of the data.”

Opportunity taken away

The Kring van Hoofdredacteuren supports this decision. Kring chair Ries Agterberg: “It is a shame that a publication by GeenStijl torpedoes a careful and neutral survey. The very purpose of the survey was to investigate the experiences and opinions of students and staff on this topic. To what extent do they support the diversity policies of universities and universities of applied sciences? That is a legitimate question. In fact, it was not intended to impose a particular body of thought. The premature termination of the survey deprived us of the opportunity to capture these experiences.”

The survey is part of a large-scale survey of nearly all independent media at universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. The Kring van Hoofdredacteuren received a grant for this from the Stimulation Fund for Journalism.

In December, the higher education media will publish, in any case, the results of the qualitative survey of the institutions’ diversity policies.

Translated by Language Center, Riet Bettonviel


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