Newsletter from the University Council edition 118, meeting of May 2017.
This February, Lijst Calimero and the Personnel Faction have pushed for granting right of consent to the Faculty Councils and the University Council on the Branch Campus that the University wants to open in Yantai, China (UGY). We believe it's very important that we are closely involved in a project of this scale, and we've been quite critical of the implementation of different aspects of the current plan.
After a long discussion between Lijst Calimero, the Personnel Faction, and the Executive Board, all parties ended up being quite pleased with the way in which the right of consent has been documented.
This February, preceding the debate in parliament, The Board and the University Council had agreed to the following:
1. The University Council has a right of consent on the application for starting a Branch Campus in Yantai.
2. The right of consent for faculties is going to be formalized.
The piece of legislation that has been passed in parliament says the following:
1. Before facilitating an education abroad, permission from our minister is required. (art. 1.19, section 1)
2. The Executive Board similarly requires the prior consent of the University Council regarding the facilitation of an education abroad as stated previously in article 1.19 section 1.
The document on the agenda that was up for debate, the third version within a thirteen-day span, was created to clarify how this right of consent was going to function for the University Council and the Faculty Councils. In other words; who gets say over what?
To this end, the following was agreed upon during the University Council meeting of May 18, 2017:
1. The University Council and the Faculty Councils will receive the same documents for consent.
2.After UGY is founded, there will be no funds from UG of any kind, be it private or public, allocated to UGY. During the preparatory phase of the project, only private means from UG will be allocated to UGY.
3. Whenever a degree programme is added to UGY from this point onwards, prior consent from the respective faculty is required.
4. The consent of the faculty is a necessary condition, but it is insufficient without the approval of the University Council.
5. Any changes in the decision-making documents (AMvB) that could lead to a change on the application for starting a Branch Campus in Yantai will be presented to the University Council.
6. The University Council did not consent with the Executive Board's proposed timetable.
The Executive Board also asked the Council to consent to the proposed timetable for decision making which was meant to lead to an application. In this document, the Faculties were urged to use their right of consent in both an additional June/July meeting and the University Council meeting of August, which is also the last Council meeting in its current composition. During the meeting of May 18, 2017 The University Council did not consent with this timetable. The Council is of the opinion that it's not feasible while the text from the AMvB, the Ministerial Arrangement, the viewpoint of Parliament, and most importantly the text of the application, are not finalized yet. The Board argued that the current timetable was required because of the increasing pre-investment costs, which are up to 700.000 Euro for September this year. The UG will initially have to bear these costs, but later direct and indirect costs after the foundation of the UGY Branch Campus will be dealt with by a Chinese partner. Naturally, it is left up to the Board what they wish to disclose and discuss with the University Council in August, if anything. Mr. De Baets put the combined application request to a vote, and was the only person present to vote against it. The University Council as a whole consented to the division of the right of consent between the Faculty Council and the University Council, with the compliance of the six aforementioned conditions.
Next week, a delegation from the Advisory Board will travel to China. Their route will first take them to the Branch Campus of the University of Nottingham in Ningbo. This Branch Campus is similar in concept to the UGY Branch Campus, which gives the delegation the opportunity to gain valuable insight into how education is formalized there, and how Ningbo maintains its academic freedom. They will then visit the Yantai campus, where they will have an opportunity to look around.
Update MOOC Introduction to Dutch
In response to an earlier question by Lijst Calimero, the Rector agreed to make the Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) Introduction to Dutch available this season in August. This means that international students that attend the KEI-week will have access to their first Dutch classes several weeks before the start of the next academic year! The MOOC can be accessed through the following link:
Last week, the profiling fund 2017-2018 was discussed, and the Executive Board made several changes to it. First of all, the different arrangements will be subdivided, examples of which are the arrangements for compensation in case of force majeure, and the arrangement for compensation for directors. The goal of this subdivision is to make these arrangements more transparent and easier to locate. With the ultimate objective of a streamlined and unified payment policy, it has also been decided that the payout for the Governance Scholarship will always happen afterwards, as was the case with the payout of compensation due to study delays.
Secondly, the Profiling Fund formalized a new variety of Tuition-free governance, in which a student will be enrolled in the UG, but will not owe any legal tuition fees. Such a student is not allowed to take exams or follow classes, but they will receive a scholarship and they maintain their rights to the facilities of DUO. This new arrangement will honour the same conditions as the other versions: A student will have had to be enrolled in the previous year with the RUG, and have followed a degree programme to a nominal extent. In the case of Master students, they will have to have had completed a bachelor degree programme at the UG within four years.
The change in legislation that made this arrangement possible has the criterion that a student has to be a full-time governor. Because full-time governors formally don't exist within the UG, the Executive Board has decided that a student has to qualify for six months of governance, because this is also the maximum amount of months that any one student is allowed to make use of the Profiling Fund. The student factions requested the Executive Board to lower this number to five months, because many student governance organizations would otherwise be unable to make use of the fund,. The Executive Board was unable to make a final decision on the subject, which is why the matter will be discussed again next month.
Lijst Calimero proposed to start an awareness campaign under students about mental health issues at our University. Mental health issues such as depressions, eating disorders and burn-outs frequently occur among students but for students having mental health issues, asking for help or talking about them is a taboo. Therefore, Lijst Calimero asked the board of the University to start an awareness campaign for mental health problems and we received a very positive response. Lijst Calimero will start working on the campaign together with the Student Service Centre (SSC).
NEW composition of the University Council Personnel during the period of 2017-2019 is as follows:
Science Faction: 3
Personnel Faction: 9
NEW composition of the University Council Students 2017-2018 is as follows:
Lijst Calimero: 5
DAG: 2 (new)
For more information on any item the factions can be contacted at:
About the Council:
In our newsletters we summarise the issues that are discussed in the last meeting. Welcome to the academic year 2016-2017. We are the University Council; twelve students and twelve employees who work for almost everything that concerns us all. We meet on the third Thursday of each month in three committees:
Followed, a week later, by a public University Council meeting. In these meetings we advise and check the Board and this way we contribute to the policy of the University of Groningen.
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Composition University Council 2016-2017
The university council consists of 12 students and 12 employees.
On behalf of the staff two factions have a seat on the council: The PF (Personnel Faction with chair Bart Beijer and members Dinie Bouwman, Toon De Baets, Casper Albers, Olaf Scholten, Marcel Ruiters, Rieza Aprianto, Nienke de Deugd and Gert Jan Bokdam and The SF (Science Faction with chair Nicolai Petkov and member Laurence Gormley. (One seat of the SF is unoccuppied. Due to taking up employment elsewhere Mr. M.H. Paapst of the Science faction has resigned his seat.)
On behalf of the students the following three factions have a seat on the Council:
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