The sexual behavior of students reveals the fundamental problems of the culture of governance

Rarely have I been so outraged as with the reports of abuses that occurred during the ASC/AVSV Amsterdam Students’ Union gloss concerts. This is much more than just a bunch of brats misbehaving at a party; This reveals three basic problems in managing our society.

Let me begin by saying that, even in my student days, I have never understood anything about the concept of a student association and have never been a member of it. Becoming a member of a beer fraternity ball club so you can have “friends for life” was a formula I also didn’t understand 25 years ago. I preferred to choose my friends myself.


My understanding, precisely because it pertains to my profession, is that culture is something you design together and that everything can go wrong with that particular design. Women here are dehumanized and excluded from things. This organism even got its name: “bucket sperm”. Women are threatened (“breaking women’s necks” in order to “put on their penises”) simply because they are women. Despite a year of debates about a safe and respectful culture within the student union, during glittering parties, naked women were put on stage for entertainment, with men smashing their heads. Johee, joho, what fun, what Entertainment.

Anyone who thinks this is a small group of drunk men with a bad sense of humor is wrong. This is the largest student union in the Netherlands with thousands of members, with hundreds of men collectively chanting “whore” when they talk about women. Hundreds of men who will soon occupy high positions in our country and will become the center of our culture of governance. Among these hundreds of men are CEOs, top lawyers, politicians and future doctors. These men will be the pillars of the culture of governance in 2040.

Pillars of governance culture

Let’s look at some of the pillars of today’s governance culture. We are talking about a prime minister who has no active memories of every thorny issue. About the driver of a Dijkbeek transmitter in a football club. of a minister who prefers to pay a fine to the judge in a matter of favoritism (albeit at the expense of the taxpayer) than to be open in writing. About officials who send professionals who hear critical voices to a “job elsewhere” with love and pleasure. And about a media mogul who allows his famous relatives and friends to work quietly with young girls – because an office has been set up where these girls can report abuse.

Three basic problems

The problems surrounding the current administrative culture can be summarized in three axes: 1) seeing women as a sexual object, 2) allowing favoritism to spread, 3) covering up problems. It is precisely these three elements that go back to the question of the Amsterdam Students’ Union. Not just because these male students became whores and semen buckets in an association that revolved around building friendships and network expansion (i.e. favouritism).

But you can also see it the way they try to solve this problem: make it small by focusing on the four speakers (not on the hundreds of attendees who also yelled “whore”). The desire to get to the bottom of everything through an investigation, and – until the results of this investigation are known – to stop the “trial through the media”. A recognizable step-by-step plan, devised by a recycling physician who often comes to the fore when problems in management culture have to be covered up.

The problems surrounding the current administrative culture can be summarized in three axes: 1) seeing women as a sexual object, 2) allowing favoritism to spread, 3) covering up problems.

Evelyn from Zeeland

A new culture does not come out of nowhere

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got. If you want to do things differently, you have to approach things completely differently. Therefore, writing the thousandth internal inquiry and starting the thousandth cycle of conversations about culture will not help. A new culture shouldn’t take years at all (as is often overlooked now regarding the issue with Amsterdam students: “Changing a culture takes time”). In fact, the new governance culture does not emerge out of thin air. To do that, you literally have to do things differently, set up differently, and design differently. But if you do it smartly, the transformation can happen very quickly.

I see the role of technology in this. HR bots are already being used by some organizations in the entire selection and appointment process for positions. You can easily program those bots in such a way that the brotherhood ball is not a dash in the front, but a dash in the back. You can also easily design a wristband with speech recognition, which, via “instant feedback”, begins to vibrate annoyingly when a man denigrates a woman. I will just put a few options on the table.

Basic redesign, soon please

Developing technology that addresses the three core problems of governance culture is not that complicated. If you want it, it’s over. The problem, as with most innovations, is widespread adoption. Awareness is an important step for adoption and we all have a role to play in that. We all have to make sure that this kind of file Issues They are not hidden and kept internally, rather they are hidden under the magnifying glass. Unpleasant as that magnifying glass. Only if we continue to name and address can we realize that it is time for a radical redesign of our governance culture. As far as I’m concerned, this time is not now, but yesterday.

About this column:

In a weekly column, alternately written by Bert Overlake, Mary Ferris, Peter de Kock, Evelyn from ZeelandIn a weekly column, Innovation Origins tries to figure out what the future will look like, Lucien Engelen, Tessie Hartjes, Jan Wouters, Katleen Gabriels and Auke Hoekstra. These columnists, sometimes supplemented by guest bloggers, work in their own way to find solutions to the problems of our time. So tomorrow will be better. You can read all previous episodes here.

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