In the December council, the budget did not receive a positive advice from the University Council. Lijst Calimero was one of the parties that advised negatively. Here you can read the most important points from our Declaration of Vote and what we achieved after the negotiations. Here you can read our full Declaration of vote
Lijst Calimero was founded 16 years ago with a clear and simple vision: to be the student party in the University Council that strongly advocates for the quality of education. In doing so, we have consistently stressed that a high degree of student wellbeing, small-scale education, and inclusivity of all University students are essential to ensuring that the quality of education in our institution remains at a high level. These three pillars are the product of our work; they reflect our extensive consultations with student organisations, our contact with fellow students, and our personal experience as students in this University.
In achieving these goals, we believe that our role in the Council must be a balance between constructive and critical, such that we work with the Board as much and as sincerely as possible, whilst also not hesitating to stand up when we believe that the Board must do better. Unfortunately, the 2021 Institutional Budget of the University fell into the category of the latter.
The Budget did not, in our opinion, reflect what we, as student representatives, advocate for in our three pillars because of the following reasons:
Generally, Council members did not believe the budget was an accurate reflection of the positions and points raised throughout the year by the Council.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the mental health crisis that has ensued, the Board did not increase expenditure for wellbeing support services such as the SSC student psychologists.
While the university has committed to a broad inclusion and diversity policy, no documents were translated into English for the council meeting in December. This amounted to 40 documents or 644 pages of untranslated text. With 20% of our student population and five members of the University Council being international, this is an unacceptable barrier to effective and inclusive participation.
Despite the consistent issues brought up around staff work pressure, the Board did not provide any additional funding to solve the issue beyond what had already been committed. The pressure facing our staff and lecturers has a direct impact on the quality of education that we, as students, can receive at the UG.
More broadly, budgetary decisions, such as the Van Rijn redistribution of funds between faculties, had already been made without our consent, turning an issue of finance into a much more serious one where fundamental principles of governance were not respected.
The Board also did not provide us with supporting documentation on projects like the Dean of Entrepreneurship which totalled over €700,000. Not consulting us puts considerable constraints on our ability to co-govern with the Board and blatantly disregards our role as representatives of students
For these reasons Lijst Calimero issued negative advice against the 2021 Budget along with five other members of the University Council as well as three other members who abstained from voting. The result was thus one where the Budget did not receive positive advice and the Board was forced into negotiations with us. We are pleased to say that these negotiations have gone well and we have secured thef following:
Well-being: 1 fte. extra for student psychologist with a promised evaluation;
Accessibility: Documents up for advice or consent will be translated entirely into English. All other documents will at least be accompanied by an English executive summary;
International marketing: the University will strive to transform its international marketing activities into a process that is more oriented towards providing balanced information to students. The expressed aim is not to attract more students, but to receive the right students and inform them sufficiently;
Transparency: the budget process will become more transparent, the Council will be better informed, and there will be a committee which will look at the rights of consent.