The meeting of the UG University Council on Thursday 23 November revolved around the revised application
to set up the Chinese branch campus University of Groningen Yantai (UGY). During the meeting, all five sections (the student representatives from SOG, List Calimero and DAG, and the staff representatives from the personnel and science sections) took part in constructive discussions of the plan that was developed in consultation with members of the University Council and the Board of the University. Their conclusion was that the application still needs work on some of the details before it can be put to the vote. This will also take place in consultation with members of the University Council.
At the meeting, the University Council also discussed the organization of the University of Groningen Yantai. This will comprise Dutch and Chinese representatives. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will represent the Dutch government as regulator. The Board of the University of Groningen has sole authority to make decisions about the content and autonomy of the degree programmes and research projects UGY is offering. The Board of the University also appoints the vice-chancellor of the UGY board, who has ultimate control. UGY facilitates Groningen programmes in terms of teaching and research. The criteria for awarding degree certificates are safeguarded in the statutory Education and Qualifications Covenant, approved by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
The UG acknowledges the importance of academic freedom and independence. Speaking in his capacity as President of the Board of the University, Sibrand Poppema stressed that this must be safeguarded at all times. ‘The composition of the UGY board, which includes a representative of the Communist Party, does nothing to alter this. This representative has no control over the programmes. We must, however, continue to ensure that self-censorship does not become an issue. The UG does not tolerate restraints on its research’, according to Sibrand Poppema.
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