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Ombudsman for students

The VU ombudsman helps AUC students with problems or complaints. She has an independent position, is neutral and handles complaints in strict confidence: there is a duty of confidentiality. The ombudsman aims to resolve problems informally.

VU ombudsman for AUC students: Pelin Zenginoglu

Universities are large, complex organisations, where something can go wrong that makes you feel duped as a student and for which you want to make a complaint. It is in the best interest of students, employees and AUC (UvA and VU) that these complaints are dealt with seriously. The aim of the ombudsman's position is to contribute to AUC, UvA and VU staff providing the best possible treatment to students and to converting complaints into points for improvement. The ombudsman for AUC students is located at VU Amsterdam and her name is Pelin Zenginoglu.  

There is also a UvA ombudsperson, who you could also speak to, but AUC students are formally represented through the VU's ombudsman.  

  • Who is entitled to use the ombudsman's services?

    All current AUC students can call in the ombudsman. A complaint can also be submitted after you as a student have completed your study. A prerequisite is that the complaint must relate to incidents that took place while studying at AUC. 

  • What types of issues does the ombudsman deal with?

    As a student, you can contact the student ombudsman with complaints about incorrect application of legislations and regulations, about the organisation, the education or about the conduct of an employee. But your complaint can also be about the organisation or accessibility of the university facilities. If you feel you have been treated unreasonably, you can discuss this with the ombudsman.  

    The ombudsman provides information about relevant regulations and procedures and tells you about your rights, obligations and options for resolving your problem. For example: you feel that you have been treated unreasonably by the faculty or that you have violated your rights as a student (student statute), one of your lecturers is unreachable or a thesis supervisor is not available. 

    Your complaint must relate to incidents that took place less than one year ago. Exceptions can be made for special cases. 

  • What information will the ombudsman require?

    The ombudsman will need information about the following: 

    • What is the problem

    • Against which individual or body is the complaint being lodged

    • What is the reason for the complaint

    • In submitting the problem, what is the objective: asking for information or advice, mediation, lodging an official complaint

    • Which facts and circumstances are related to the problem (bring any correspondence about your case)

    • Your name, address, telephone number and email address

    Anonymous complaints will not be processed. 

  • What will the ombudsman do?

    A conversation with the ombudsman is confidential: there is a duty of confidentiality. The ombudsman will discuss with you the ways in which the problem might be solved. This could be achieved by: 

    • making inquiries 

    • referral  

    • offering advice  

    • mediating  

    • dealing with the matter officially and issuing official advice  

    The ombudsman provides information about relevant regulations, procedures and what your rights, obligations and options are. The ombudsman also assists in problem analysis. If the problem can be resolved by another body, then the ombudsman will refer you to the body in question, for example the confidential counsellors.  

    The ombudsman will, with your permission, contact the individual or body in question. Only those who are directly involved are informed about the nature of the problem or complaint. Everyday experience in other universities has shown that most complaints/problems can be resolved through mediation. 

    Formal investigation 

    In the event that mediation is no longer possible or has not yielded results, a formal investigation can be initiated. You can request this from the ombudsman. In that case, the complaint will always be put in writing.  

    The ombudsman has a number of powers during the investigation. For example, it can request information from third parties, engage experts and examine the situation on the spot. 

    In all cases, the ombudsman hears the parties involved. Facts and circumstances are then stated as accurately as possible. After hearing both sides of the argument, areas of common ground are identified. The ombudsman then issues a public verdict.  

    The complaint is declared either valid, partially valid, or invalid. This verdict may be accompanied by a recommendation to those involved, to the Faculty Board, or the Executive Board. Verdicts are incorporated into the annual report, however, the identities of those involved are not revealed.  

  • Contact the student ombudsman

    Ms. Pelin Zenginoglu

    Ombudsman for VU and AUC students.


    • Please include your phone number in the email message. An invitation for an interview will follow as soon as possible.

    Call or WhatsApp

    • +316 2762 5636
      (Available from Monday to Thursday between 9.00 and 17.00)

    Visiting address 

    WN-gebouw, Office S-246 
    De Boelelaan 1081 
    1081 HV Amsterdam

    Mailing address 

    De Boelelaan 1105 
    1081 HV Amsterdam 

  • Annual Report

    The annual report of the VU Ombudsman can be downloaded via the link below.

    On a similar note, the annual report of the UvA Ombudsperson can be found via the link below.