Independent University Newspaper
Copenhagen Business School

Popular searches:

Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

While we’re on the topic of apologies…

Astrid Rose Hegnar, a student of BSc in European Business. (Photo by Ida Eriksen)

Opinion |   23. Mar 2022

Written by Astrid Rose Hegnar, a student of BSc in European Business

On a deceptively sunny day in October of 2019 I was sitting in the office of a guidance counsellor at Solbjerg Plads. Having recently commenced my studies in the bachelor programme in European Business, I found myself feeling deeply unhappy and lonely every time I set foot on campus. This seemed unsustainable, so I had called the meeting to get an overview of my options in terms of changing study programme. Despite my set intention going into that meeting, it became anything but an informative chat. The guidance counsellor started asking what prompted this change of heart, and she didn’t need to scrape the surface much before I unravelled. Bawling my eyes out in her little office, I told her what I’m about to share with all of you; The “slutty fall break” party invitation was just the tip of the iceberg of a toxic environment thriving within a disconnected institution.

When I received my acceptance letter for HA EB, it came along with a strong encouragement to attend the intro period, as many students who don’t, apparently drop out. I figured it was an obvious call, because of course I wanted to get to know the people I thought I’d be sitting in lecture halls with for three years. Naturally, I had heard the tropes about the typical CBS-students, but mostly written it off as hyperboles. After weeks of “never have I ever made a sex-tape”, “guess which tutor has been sucked off by a European Parliament-member” and other sexually explicit activities, I was no longer so sure it was an exaggeration. My student life was now shaped by this extreme fraternity-like culture I thought unimaginable to find in a public educational institution.

By the time I got invited to the much discussed Facebook-event, the tone didn’t even shock me anymore; I simply declined. All the while I was wondering why I couldn’t fit in with the crowd of a programme that seemed so perfect for my academic interests. Wondering if I was being too sensitive. Wondering if I was unable to take jokes because of my politically correct Norwegian background. In retrospect I realise that that’s what a toxic setting does to many of us, it breeds insecurity and a feeling of foreignness that allows the cycle to continue. To me, the only palpable solution seemed to be to drop out. A couple of weeks later, when the story broke in Berlingske I found myself relieved to discover I was not the only one in my cohort tired of feeling objectified during this arguably transgressive intro period. And to be quite frank, the main reason I’m on track to get my Bachelor’s degree in European Business this summer is the lock-down that has allowed me to immerse myself in the academics without having to deal with the discomfort of what I to this day experience as a hostile learning environment.

The recent coverage of the case centres on the sanctions faced by the tutors after the story broke. The decision of CBS’ management, backed by the Ministry of Research and Education, has been criticised by the Danish Parliamentary Ombudsman. Consequently, the tutors, with support from CBS Students, are now demanding an official apology from CBS. I’m not going to pretend like I know the answers to this discussion, but I do want to shed some light on the experience from what I say is an underrepresented perspective. And I’m saddened to see that this perspective is not reflected in the official stance taken by the student organisation. As someone who was indeed offended and alienated by the course of events, there was never any direct apology offered. We were neither involved nor informed about the handling of the situation, so the measurements put in place seem to serve the institution more than the affected party. To us, the consequence of the sanction was simply that the tutors would continue their education in our cohort, which seems like a rather un-thought-through measure.

Believe me, I love a good party as much as the next person, and have experienced what a great way it can be to connect with new people. This was, however, by no means a good environment for getting to know my fellow students, as it was breeding on insecurity and lack of responsibility. The precariousness of power balances in these settings is something we need to become aware of and talk about in this institution. And not in a far removed boardroom that has recently illustrated how out of touch it is with the student body. There is a clear silo-effect here – a scholarly term we’re very fond of using, but can’t seem to handle in our own university.


  1. Berit says:

    Thanks for sharing and giving perspective.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

While we’re on the topic of apologies…by

  • News

    Layoffs break the crucial trust between organisation and employee

    CBS is laying off a number of employees soon, which will affect our university in different ways. When employees are fired without having done anything wrong, it shatters the trust between the organisation and employees, while also taking a toll on productivity, according to a CBS expert. Layoffs also affect the ‘survivors’, who are forced to adapt to a changed workload and the loss of cherished colleagues.

  • News

    Here to help – at the touch of a button and at Campus Desk

    Exam anxiety? Lost student card? I’ve wedged my car between a Fiat 500 and a lamp post, can you help? You never know what you’ll be asked next. But that’s just how the Campus Desk team like it. And if they can’t fix your problem, they’ll know someone who can. CBS WIRE asked the team about the whole range of topics they advice on every day.

  • News

    Why so sudden? The CBS financial crisis explained

    Employees and union representatives have posed many questions in the wake of the 17 August announcement of a firing round. In this interview, University Director Arnold Boon explains how Senior Management has been working with the budget and a change of financial strategy since the fall of 2022, and why layoffs are now necessary.

  • Illustration: Ida Eriksen


    Here’s what you need to know about the master’s reform

    The political parties behind the master’s reform have adjusted their original proposal to shorten or reorganize up to 50 percent of master’s programmes after pressure from CBS and the other Danish universities. Fewer shortened master’s and longer to implement changes are some important revisions to the reform. CBS’ president is pleased that the government and other parties behind the reform have listened to some of the critique given by the universities but raises concern about cutting more study places in bachelor’s programmes.

  • News

    CBS Quiz Time: Unraveling the success story

    A successful university environment such as CBS is often associated with academic pursuits, but campus life extends far beyond the classroom. At CBS Quiz Time, a student society motivated by creative thinking and social engagement, students join in a refreshing range of creativity, excitement, and social interaction. CBS WIRE talked to Celine Møller-Andersen to find out about the society’s vision, strategies and the factors that are driving its rapid expansion.

  • Gif of the week
  • Blog

    Uncertain times: Essential for business schools to understand their market

    The alliance of European business schools met at CBS in June to enhance recruitment strategies, stay informed on industry trends, and analyse where the global economy is heading. The CBS MBA Programmes shares some key take-aways from Associate Dean and Professor Jesper Rangvid’s presentation.

  • News

    Working hard all summer: Bachelor Admissions

    The employees in charge of bachelor admissions at CBS are a small exclusive team. They ensure the validity of diplomas and the fulfilment of entry requirements for bachelor’s degrees at CBS – and, not least, that the applicants get the necessary help to upload the right documentation and find their way around the application procedures.

Follow CBS students studying abroad

CBS WIRE collaborates with

Stay connected