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Confidential advisers

Last modified on 19-06-2024 15:00
Confidential advisers are there to support you if you're experiencing undesirable behaviour. Their role is to listen and advise, and they can refer you to a professional.
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If you're facing undesirable behaviour, it can cause stress and psychological or physical complaints. It's important  therefore that you take steps and not carry it around with you.

Depending on your situation, it may be a good idea to first discuss the undesirable behaviour with your study adviser, lecturer or programme coordinator. If you'd like to have a private conversation, you can contact a confidential adviser. For more information, see the webpage what you can about undesirable behaviour

What does a confidential adviser do?

You can contact a confidential adviser if you experience undesirable behaviour by lecturers, students or others with whom you come into contact through your studies at the UvA. The behaviour needn't have taken place at a UvA location.

  • A confidential adviser will help you find a way to stop the behaviour or prevent the situation from worsening.
  • Everything you discuss with the adviser is confidential.
  • The confidential adviser will only take action if you agree.
  • If necessary, the confidential adviser will refer you to professional care providers.
  • They can also help you make a complaint.

In doubt about whether to consult a confidential adviser?

Inappropriate behaviour can lead to stress and psychological or physical symptoms. It's important not to bottle this up. Even if you are unsure, the confidential adviser is there for you. So when in doubt: please get in touch.

What happens when you consult a confidential adviser?

Choose your confidential adviser 

You're free to contact any of the confidential advisers listed below. The person you choose need not be employed by your faculty. 

Arjen Berkvens - coordinating confidential adviser

Photo of Arjen Berkvens
Arjen Berkvens

Arjen Berkvens is an independent coordinating confidential adviser at the University of Amsterdam. In this position, Arjen contributes to the further expansion and professionalization of the work of confidential advisers. He organises peer review meetings, maintains contacts with relevant people and institutions within and outside the UvA, provides information, gives workshops on social safety and identifies alleged abuses. Arjen can also be approached as a regular confidential adviser for employees and students.

'I am very motivated to do this work. It is very important that an organisation such as a university has a safe working environment. Undesirable behaviour leads to great damage to staff, students and to the organisation as a whole. If someone experiences something unpleasant, they should be able to report it in confidence. My role is to help people find a good solution and I can also refer them to other care providers.'

Arjen can be reached on a.berkvens@uva.nlExternal link.

Joyce Helsloot

Portrait of Joyce Helsloot
Joyce Helsloot

Joyce Helsloot graduated in the Master's track Training & Development in Psychology at the UvA. Since 2020, she has been working as a study advisor for the Communication Science course. She is also a breathwork coach and therapist in training.

'As a confidential advisor, I am first and foremost there to offer you a listening ear. I would like to help you feel heard and seen, whatever it is. You can contact me for situations that have occurred that no longer make you feel comfortable or safe at the UvA, such as bullying, (sexual) intimidation, discrimination or other undesirable behavior. The conversations we have will be confidential. You are the one who decides whether you want to take further action or not, either way is fine. I am there for you to guide this selection process step by step and providing you with information about the possible steps. It is up to you to make the choice that is right for you and in your own time. I will remain involved if you choose to take further steps. I would like to contribute to a situation in which you feel safe again at work or while studying.'

Joyce can be reached at j.helsloot@uva.nlExternal link.

Els Veldhuizen

Els Veldhuizen
Els Veldhuizen

Els Veldhuizen is a lecturer and coach for junior lecturers in the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies. She studied here herself.

'As a student or employee, you spend a large part of your time at the UvA and you also take a piece of the UvA home with you. The UvA must therefore be a place where you feel comfortable and safe so that you can get the best out of yourself and gain good experiences. It should also be a place that gives space for relaxation in your free time. If the UvA is no longer that place because you've had to deal with undesirable behaviour, don't keep walking around with it. The feeling doesn't always go away on its own. Know that you can share your concerns or problems with me in confidence. I hear to listen and sharing your experiences can already offer relief. I can also inform you about steps you could take if you want to. You don't have to, it's for you to decide. As a confidential adviser, I will stand by you. You are no longer alone.'

Els can be reached at e.m.veldhuizen@uva.nlExternal link.

Eloe Kingma

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Eloe Kingma

Dr E. (Eloe) Kingma has served as managing director of the Faculty of Humanities' Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis since 1994. 

‘I have been the designated contact person for PhD students at the ASCA research school for many years now. Thanks to that experience, I am well aware that the power imbalances and sense of dependency so many university staff and students experience can lead to sensitive situations. I will be happy to help you deal with any conflicts and hopefully contribute to a more balanced relationship.

As confidential advisers, we also keep the Board and representative advisory bodies informed about any issues in the workplace. I encourage everyone who experiences undesirable behaviour to report it. We need to bring these issues to light so that the Board can restore and build trust by responding in an adequate and transparent manner.’

You can reach Eloe at E.Kingma@uva.nlExternal link or +31 (0)20 525 3874.

Mirjam Koelewijn

Picture of Mirjam Koelewijn
Mirjam Koelewijn

Mirjam Koelewijn serves as an official secretary at College and Graduate School of Child Development and Education (Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences). 

'I want to help create a good, healthy and safe learning and working environment and a pleasant atmosphere at the UvA. I am always happy to listen and offer guidance to any students experiencing undesirable and transgressive behaviour in the workplace or here at the university. Safety, thoroughness and transparency are extremely important to me and are central to my work as a confidential adviser. Having taken several courses in Nonviolent Communication, I have learned to tune in to the other person's feelings and concerns. I can quickly assess a situation and identify someone's feelings and needs. Those skills always come in handy during my work as a confidential adviser. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you are experiencing any form of undesirable behaviour. It's best to contact me by email. Send me a message and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.'

You can reach Mirjam at M.G.Koelewijn@uva.nlExternal link or 020 525 47 07.

Myrthe van Amstel

Portrait of Myrthe van Amstel
Myrthe van Amstel

Myrthe van Amstel, herself a UvA alumna, has been working at the UvA since 2017 and is currently a policy officer for education at the Faculty of Law. In the past, she has worked as an HR adviser, programme coordinator and teacher/education developer.

As a confidential adviser, she wants to offer colleagues and students an accessible opportunity to address undesirable behaviour. Anyone who is confronted with undesirable behaviour can come to her. Although it can feel like a big step to go to a confidant, Myrthe especially wants to emphasize that this is not the case. She also explicitly invites staff and students from other faculties to approach her. It turns out that a somewhat external view is sometimes pleasant.

No matter how different Myrthe's two functions may be, they have one important thing in common: improving the conditions for all students and staff: 'Every day I am committed to make studying and working at the UvA a little better.

You can reach Myrthe at M.vanAmstel@uva.nlExternal link or +31 (0)20 525 6017.

Erik van Arkel

Photo of Erik van Arkel
Erik van Arkel

Erik van Arkel serves as operational management coordinator at the Faculty of Law's Public Law department and runs a private company focused on increasing the resilience of people and organisations. 

'I think it's important that students can learn in a safe environment and feel comfortable talking to their lecturers if something goes wrong. But I also know that there can be situations where that's difficult or impossible or where the person in question simply doesn't want to. In those cases, it's important to have someone else to confide in. As a confidential adviser, I always make sure to be accessible, open up a dialogue and listen without judging. Next, I try to help the person move forward and resolve the situation. In many cases, people have already tried to solve their own problems before contacting me. That's really not necessary as far as I'm concerned. People should feel free to bring up whatever is bothering them even if they haven't thought it all through yet.’

You can reach Erik at e.vanarkel@uva.nlExternal link or +31 (0)20 525 3451.

Gerrie Veenstra

Picture of Gerrie Veenstra
Gerrie Veenstra

Gerrie Veenstra works as a general practitioner and teaches oral medicine at the Faculty of Dentistry (ACTA). 

'I was a confidant to many patients during my time as a GP. I have heard a lot of personal stories, and some of my patients clearly didn't live in safe environments. Listening carefully, supporting people and helping them find solutions has always been an important part of my work, both during my time as a general practitioner and in my current role as a confidential adviser. Accessible and trusted. I hope I can help make the ACTA a safer place so that everyone gets to enjoy a pleasant working environment.'

You can reach Gerrie at gerrie.veenstra@acta.nlExternal link or +31 (0)6 26 29 69 46 (Wednesday, Thursday).

Rixt Polder

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Rixt Polder

Rixt Polder works as alumni relations project leader at the Alumni Relations Office and University Fund and serves as the University's confidential adviser for students and employees. 

'It's important that our students have someone to turn to if they want to discuss their problems without fear of being judged or suffering any consequences. I always try to be as accessible as possible and schedule appointments within two days. I'm a good listener and am always eager to help resolve any difficult situations you might encounter during your studies.'

You can reach Rixt at A.Polder@uva.nlExternal link, or +31 (0)6 18 99 49 30.

Belle Jansen

Picture of Belle Jansen
Belle Jansen

Belle Jansen is project coordinator at the Visible Learning Trajectories Program and a yoga teacher and freelance copywriter. 

'Not sure what to do in - or after - a situation in which you’ve experienced undesirable and undesirable behaviour, such as discrimination, aggression or violence, bullying or sexual harassment? Send me a message if you want to share your experience with me in confidence. Together, we can discuss what you are going through and I can support you in what you need. 

Anything you experience as unacceptable behaviour is worth discussing, even if you’re not sure if it meets the definition of undesirable behaviour. It could be about a situation you've witnessed or something you've experienced yourself. As a confidential adviser, I provide you with a safe space to tell your story confidentially and, if you wish, anonymously. Depending on what you need, I can think along with you and guide you in the steps towards a solution.'

You can reach Belle at B.k.jansen@uva.nlExternal link.

Sanne Lagziel-de Munck

Confidential adviser Sanne Lagziel-de Munck
Sanne Lagziel-de Munck

Sanne is temporarily unavailable as a confidential advisor.

Sanne Lagziel-de Munck has a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology from the UvA and a Master’s degree in African Studies from the University of Copenhagen. Since 2018 she has been working at the Faculty of Economics and Business. She started at the Education Desk and now works as a study adviser.

'I enjoy offering a sympathetic ear to the people around me and I’m also here for you. Sometimes it can already make such a difference if there is a safe space where you can share your experiences with unwanted behaviour. I’m here to hold that space and listen to you. If you want, we can look into the different ways to address unwanted behaviour and I can help you decide which one suits you best. All in your pace.

The university should be a safe working and studying environment that people enjoy being part of. The moment someone crosses your boundaries, I find it very important you feel you have someone like a confidential adviser to talk to. So I encourage you to reach out and we’ll take it from there.'

Sanne can be reached at r.w.demunck@uva.nlExternal link and +31 (0)20 525 4403.

Asli Özgen

Portrait of Asli Özgen
Asli Özgen

'A confidential adviser will first and foremost listen to you in all confidentiality and think with you about what can be done in such a situation. The definition of undesirable behaviour is quite broad: it can range from aggression to intimidation, discrimination, sexual harassment and rape. What is key in the definition of undesirable behaviour is that, regardless of the intentions behind it, it is experienced as crossing a line. In such cases, you can approach a confidential adviser to speak about your experiences.

As a young female academic from the Global South, I am aware of the continued necessity for a healthy, safe, and enriching study and work environment. My main motivation is to take on an active role in contributing to this in a caring, empowering way. I’m particularly attentive to how international students might face extra challenges when they encounter undesirable behaviour. Mostly they don’t have the social support networks of friends and family, and not speaking the local language may complicate the processes to seek help beyond the university. It’s my aim to support students to my best ability.'

If you've experienced undesirable behaviour you can reach me at a.ozgen-havekotte@uva.nlExternal link. I speak English, Dutch, and Turkish.

Marjan van Schijndel

Portrait of Marjan van Schijndel
Marjan van Schijndel

My name is Marjan van Schijndel. As a lecturer in Dentistry I have been working for years in various educational positions at ACTA. I have also worked in practice as a dentist general practitioner for many years. In both workplaces I have gained a lot of people knowledge and I respect the well-being of everyone. Since 1 March 2023, I have been a confidential adviser at ACTA.

'A safe learning and working environment is the basis for everyone to function with a good feeling. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In some cases, people can make things difficult for each other. I would like to make my contribution as a confidential adviser to offer and support people, easily accessible and in confidence; looking for a solution together.'

Marjan can be reached on m.v.schijndel@acta.nlExternal link or +31 (0)6 81 38 79 53 (Wed, Thu and Fri).

Cock Dieleman

Cock Dieleman
Cock Dieleman

I work as an assistant professor in the Theatre Studies programme (Faculty of Humanities) and have been working at the UvA for many years. In addition to teaching and conducting research, I always try to support students and colleagues as much as possible in my work. The university is a wonderful place to work and study, but power imbalances can sometimes also lead to undesirable behaviour, such as bullying, exclusion, intimidation, aggression, and discrimination. This can be between employees, but also between lecturers and students, or between students themselves. It is important to report these kinds of things. Everyone has the right to a safe workplace and a safe learning environment.

If, as a student or staff member, you experience undesirable behaviour, don't keep walking around with it. As a confidential advisor, I am there to offer a listening ear and to think along with you. There is no further obligation. The information you share with a confidential advisor is confidential. You can make an appointment with me via c.dieleman@uva.nlExternal link

Juliette Parlevliet

Photo of Dr. Juliette L. Parlevliet
Juliette Parlevliet

Dr Juliette L. Parlevliet is a clinical geriatrician at Amsterdam UMC and the coordinator of OVV-3 Bachelor's in Medicine. She has worked at the Faculty of Medicine for years and studied here herself. 

'As a confidential adviser to students of Medicine (BA and MA), my aim is that together we can create an even better learning environment, one where we can hold each other to account about things that went wrong, and one where we are open to feedback on how things can come across. Just talking about a social safety incident with another person can already be very useful. Don’t hesitate to contact me.'

Students of Medicine can reach Juliette at  j.l.parlevliet@amsterdamumc.nlExternal link, +31 (0)6 50 05 12 29.