Democratic student representation in application committees

by | Feb 20, 2020 | News | 0 comments

A member of the Faculty Board has many responsibilities, of which towards students. It’s important that student interests are discussed within the application interview of a Faculty Board member. The best way to make sure student interests are represented, is by having a student as part of the application committee. For two years, a student, directly appointed by the Faculty Board, can be a member of the application committee for Faculty Board members. 

Here arises a problem: when a Faculty Board can directly appoint the student within the application committee, it is a bit like marking your own paper. Can critical and independent representation of student interests be guaranteed? 

Faculty Boards are not elected, and should therefore not completely influence the composition of the application committee. Lijst Calimero recently proposed to have the student in the application committee appointed by the Faculty Council, instead of the Faculty Board. 

Faculty Councils are elected. They are the democratic backbone of the university, they directly represent you! 

Our proposal received broad support: our colleagues in the University Council of the Democratische Academie Groningen (DAG) supported our proposal, as well as the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Economics & Business (FEB) and the Faculty Council parties Letteren Vooruit, DAG Arts and the student faction of the O&O-council of the UMCG. 

The Board of the university didn’t agree, as they didn’t consider this necessary by law. They have stated to evaluate the current system in the near future once more. Our successors will discuss this again for sure. Additionally, a contra-argument was that the current system doesn’t create any problems. We are wondering if there has to be a problem before any improvement takes place. There always is ample room for improvement. 

For the democratic and transparent process within the University of Groningen it’s important to listen to the opinions and voices of the elected representatives by our 35.000 students and our staff.  Power to the people.