Director of Vives University of Applied Sciences must step aside after complaints about ‘undesirable behavior’

Director of Vives University of Applied Sciences must step aside after complaints about ‘undesirable behavior’

“Intimate group of friends”

Three female colleagues from Vives University of Applied Sciences went to the external prevention service IDEWE to report unwanted behavior. Their complaint concerns intimate messages they received that they take offense to. Hindryckx was questioned about this by IDEWE on Friday morning. Vives has instructed IDEWE to further investigate the complaints as an independent and neutral party in an adversarial procedure.

“Mutual in his opinion”

Joris Hindryckx then hired a lawyer, master Jan Leysen. “My client forms an intimate group of friends with several colleagues,” he says. “Sometimes he may have been a little too personal, but he felt that certain intimate messages were always mutual.”

Administrative body places Hinderyckx on inactive status

There is no criminal investigation yet. But the university’s governing body decided not to wait for that in order to maintain serenity. At the request of that administrative body, Hindryckx temporarily steps aside due to complaints about his lifestyle and behavior. Maria De Smet, active as secretary of the Management Committee at the KU Leuven Association, has been appointed as interim general director.

Hindryckx is taking on a research assignment within the organization. Depending on the final advice from IDEWE, Vives University of Applied Sciences will take further actions.

Joris Hindryckx was also active as mayor of Houthulst until August 31 this year. He exchanged his sash, as planned, with Jeroen Vandromme on September 1 and is now active as an alderman.


In addition to the complaints about sexual misconduct, a collective complaint was also filed about toxic leadership, including divide and rule politics and manipulative behavior towards at least 15 employees, not only towards women, but also towards male colleagues.