Update University Council January

by | Feb 19, 2021 | News | 0 comments

Hi everyone! We hope you’re all doing alright and that you were able to enjoy the snow and ice of the past week! We have written another
update of what has been happening in the University Council and on what we’ve been doing lately.
Please let us know if there’s anything we can help you with or if you have any questions or suggestions. You can contact us by sending an
email to contact@lijstcalimero.nl or by sending a message to your contact person.

Well-being Weeks
The ‘Well-being Weeks’ have started! The upcoming four weeks we will try to focus on, and make student well-being the central point of attention at our whole university. In the Well-being Weeks, we will focus on combating issues like loneliness, demotivation, anxiety and a whole bunch of other things. There are trainings, lectures and workshops, spread out between the 15th of February and the 14th of March. Everyone can join the activities that can be found on the website which was specially created to promote student well-being. We try to keep you updated as much as possible and ask you to promote the weeks among your members. Please contact lisavanderpanne@lijstcalimero.nl if you have any suggestions or if you want to organize something during the weeks.

Board Support
In the beginning of February we posted a message on Nestor to support assoccations in their search for a new board. This message was also supported by the Faculty Association Assembly (FAA). After our message had been posted, we also sent a letter to the board of the University requesting for their official endorsement for doing a board year of a study or student association. We are still waiting for their reply, and we will keep you posted as we believe that associations are part of the essence of our University and this should also be supported by the University itself

We lowered the BSA thanks to all the input of first year students. Next to a national movement, this made sure that the BSA has now been lowered to 35 points for first year students. It is understandable that students struggle with the BSA at the moment, and as a result with their total mental well-being. Read more about the process here: https://www.lijstcalimero.nl/en/2021/01/bsa-tijdens-de-coronacrisis/ 

Soft Cut from Bachelor to Master
Together with SOG we asked the board to continue the soft cut measure of last year. This means that you do not need to gain all points of your bachelor or pre-master before starting your master. University Councils throughout the Netherlands asked their boards the same so we can pressure them, the VSNU and finally the Minister of Education together. We will discuss our letter in the next council meeting.

Budget of the UG
After we voted negatively on the budget of the University, due to a lot of unclarity and undesirable expenses which would be made, we caused the budget to be rejected by the Council. This was a little unfortunate, but we simply could not approve of the planned expenses. After a month of negotiating with the board, we managed to achieve the following things for you:

Well-being: 1 fte. extra for student psychologist with a promised evaluation;
Accessibility: Documents for advice or consent will be fully translated into English. All other documents will be accompanied by at least an English summary. This will hopefully also lead to more English documents in the faculties where this is required;
International marketing: the University will strive to transform its international marketing activities into a process that is more focused on providing students with balanced information. 
Transparency: the budget process will be more transparent, the council will be better informed and there will be a committee that looks at the rights of consent. This transparency is required for any student organisation to function well, and we hope that you will also notice improved transparency from the University.

Through the following link you can read our explanation of vote:

UB Spaces
In the current situation, it can be quite difficult to study and work at home alone. That is why we tried to oppose the decision of the Board of the University to only admit a maximum of 50 vulnerable students. Since then, there is room for 280 vulnerable students per day, and the University Library will continue to scale up. In addition, together with the municipality and Coalitie-Y, we are looking at opening up study spaces at other locations.

Consequences Brexit for UK students
Now that Brexit has officially come to pass, the university has made its policy for UK students clear: if you are a student from the UK, but you have a residency in the municipality of Groningen, nothing will change. New students will be seen as non-EU students, and if a UK student is abroad for their study, it would be wise for them to also keep a Dutch address.

Cheat Prevention for Examinations
During the first exam period there have been some examinations at the UG where fraud has been suspected and all students felt the repercussions of this. Lijst Calimero has been very clear and vocal in the council that the University is responsible for creating the integrity surrounding exams, rather than that the students should police each other. As a result, the board has started a committee that is tasked with finding ways of examination that are as cheat-proof as possible. They also updated the Integrity Policy of the UG, a document that outlined the code of conduct in cases where integrity is compromised. The main examples of this are exams, academic integrity and fraud. With these new policies we hope to ensure that students can take their exams in a safe manner, without the risk of being affected by anything other than themselves.

Applications and Registrations
It turned out that there are now 36.000 students. An enormous growth of the university no one expected. We are very worried about this, as there are not enough facilities and staff members to facilitate all these students and give them a worthy diploma. Want to read all of our concerns and the solutions we offer? Rozemarijn gave a speech about this during the council, you can read it here.

Then Some Last Little Things
The following topics are either subjects that have passed really quickly, or subjects that we are working on. If you feel like contributing to those ideas, please let us know which of the topics interests you!

Housing Evaluation
The Board of the university was under the assumption that there was enough housing in Groningen for all students. We are currently evaluating this together with the Bureau, in order to see whether the University should jump in.

Week off memo & Research platform memo
We are working on a week off memo, in order to see whether there could be an additional week of holiday at the UG, because we believe that the Christmas break is not that effective as many students have to study for exams or work on their deadlines. Please let us know if you have any ideas about whether this is a good initiative and how to set it up. We are always looking for a fresh view on things!

Next to that, we are looking at the implementation of a platform that would display the research done at the university, per faculty. Students would have access to this platform to see where they can do research they find interesting, for example when looking for a Master thesis subject.

Strategic plan
In the February Council, the Strategic Plan of the University of Groningen will be discussed and voted on. 

At the moment the new version of the Profileringsfonds is being discussed. Our goal is to make the profileringsfonds more known amongst students, so that everybody who is eligible but isn’t aware of it will know that they can also apply for this.

Uni-Life: activities platform
We have been contacted by Uni-Life, a platform that collects all activities for students on one platform to make activities more accessible and promotion easier. They are already doing this at some other universities and we are looking into the possibility to implement such a thing at the UG.

Pilot Corona test before examination
Prior to some on site exams, students were given the option to get a quick test so that it could be ensured that nobody in the exam hall had corona. We are still trying to figure out whether students think this is good and useful or not.