May 07, 2018

Ombuds Program at ETH Zurich Roiled After Controversy

Last year, the leading Swiss engineering and technology university, dramatically closed its Institute of Astronomy after the Ombudspersons raised issues of bullying by a prominent professor.  This spring, ETH announced that the two Ombuds, professors Maryvonne Landolt and Wilfred F. Gunsteren, would not be reappointed because they were "too old" at ages 70 and 72. The two Ombuds, however, openly questioned that the decision had more to do with the scandal. They also revealed emails showing that university administrators had pressured them last year not to surface the complaints.

Under pressure, the university kept Landolt and expanded the Ombuds program to three with the appointment of Professor Gerhard Tröster and the former ETH Secretary General Hugo Bretscher. After just one month on the job, Bretscher resigned last week. The situation continues to evolve. (Buzzfeed DE; MyScience.)

Related post: Swiss University Closes Institute After Ombuds Surface Concerns

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