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Low turnout for Penkowa briefing

Only an estimated 200 people turned out for the management briefing on the Penkowa case late Tuesday. This was in spite of an e-mail circular sent out to all staff and students. Subsequent comments suggest that staff and students were at work, and that the message did not get out to everyone

A mass e-mail communication to 45,000 students and staff, only resulted in a couple of hundred as turnout at a management briefing on the Penkowa case late Tuesday. Some recipients had not received the message, comments on our Danish section Universitetsavisen reveal, while others were preoccupied at work and could not make the spur-of-the-moment meeting.

Students and staff received the invitation at 10:30 on Tuesday to attend an open meeting in the aftermath of the just released report from the University’s legal counsel on the Penkowa fraud case.

While several hundred scientists had signed a petition for an independent survey of the Penkowa affair, only an estimated 200 people attended the meeting on the day. According to the Universitetetsavisen rendering, raging criticism was all but absent from the meeting at the Panum Institute, the buildings that house the Faculty of Health Sciences and the centre of the action and controversy.

The briefing discussed the events that led up to one of the case’s major milestones: The University of Copenhagen legal counsel ‘Kammeradvokaten’s report on the administrative and managerial handling of the case.

Read article: Minister lashes out at University in Penkowa-case

Couldn’t come, working

Rector Ralf Hemmingsen announced at the meeting that he is already ready to draw conclusions from the Penkowa affair. One of these conclusions was discussed, a student ombudsman to take care of student concerns.

Hardest hitter was medical student and course instructor in criminal law, Leonardo Giovanni, according to our sister media’s report: Rector and Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences Ulla Wewer had reversed their explanations on what they knew about Penkowa’s embezzlement case, he said.

But it is a matter of language, Ulla Wewer responded. Both Rector and the Dean knew indeed about the police report against Penkowa for embezzlement from the Danish Society for Neuroscience, but they did know know of the other serious indictment that also included Penkowas crimes against student assistant Kristian Kolind until afterwards.

As for the low turnout?

»The poor attendance is probably due to the signatories lecturing or otherwise going about their work – which is my case,« writes one petition signatory and commenter on Danish section Universitetsavisen.

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