Emails have been obtained by BuzzFeed News Germany showing that at least two young researchers expressed concerns about misconduct by superiors at the institute to various authorities, including the equal opportunities officer of the Max Planck Society and the chair of the works council of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics.
"According to the Max Planck Institute, half a year before the expert advisory committee session a postdoc wrote about problems to a work council member, who in turn contacted the chair of the work council.
The Max Planck Society wrote, "Vice President Professor Ferdi Schüth was made aware of deficits in the care for graduate students in the director's department during the expert advisory committee visit in 2016, and immediately sought to speak with her."
"The Max Planck Society touts the expert advisory committee as something that can uncover all problems, but in my experience it's a deeply flawed process and ultimately useless for reporting serious problems and protecting young employees," wrote Kaleigh (a pseudonym), who worked at the institute some years ago, in an email to BuzzFeed News Germany.
After the visit by the expert advisory committee, the leadership of the Max Planck Society immediately spoke with the director, the society told BuzzFeed News Germany.