The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science wants to know from the Maastricht School of Management (MSM) whether the business school has invested money in the operation of a loss-making four-star hotel.
This is what a spokesperson for Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf (OCW, D66) says in response to an article in NRC. This showed that MSM has injected hundreds of thousands of euros into the operation of Aparthotel Randwyck every year, partly by keeping the rent of the property artificially low. The hotel building, with 65 rooms and two junior suites, is owned by MSM, but is operated by the affiliated Foundation International Student Housing (FISH). MSM receives a two million euro subsidy from OCW every year.
A 2017 MSM paper called matching the losses of sister foundation FISH “a risk because it must use public funds lawfully and efficiently and cannot be used for any purpose other than education and research.”
The ministry points out that MSM is financed by the ministry through the funding of Maastricht University. The grant is intended for “providing education and research for students from developing countries,” said the spokesman. “It is not known whether these funds cover losses from private activities. We are going to talk to Maastricht University and MSM to find out what happened here.”
Also read:This profile about the school of friends services
Maastricht University is about to take over MSM. A spokesperson for the university reports that a due diligence investigation “showed that the rent that FISH most recently paid to MSM is not in line with the market”. According to the spokesperson, it cannot be automatically concluded from this that ‘resources from OCW’ are being used for the hotel.
Sixth Merger Attempt
MSM is one of the oldest business schools in the Netherlands. Maastricht University and MSM have been talking about integrating their educational activities for 23 years. Three years ago, the institutes started another attempt, the sixth. This should lead to a final agreement this spring.
The NRC publication also showed that MSM has been the scene of favors and interference by Limburg ex-politicians for years. Directors of MSM and an affiliated foundation were in office longer than allowed by the statutes, directors did not avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, and party members and associates were given jobs and assignments.