VVD councilor Jimmy van der Vliet wants the UvA to include students from Almere in its plans to build a campus. The UvA isn’t so sure.
‘The UvA has a problem and we want to help, but we also have our own problems’, says VVD councilor Jimmy van der Vliet, referring to the difficulties students from universities such as Windesheim and Aeres Hogeschool have finding affordable housing in Almere. ‘We are looking for a win-win situation’. His solution: make room for these students at the new UvA campus the university is discussing building in Almere.
During a meeting of the city council, a majority quickly agreed to the proposal that any new UvA campus should make room for non-UvA students. ‘I think a fifty-fifty split is reasonable’, says van der Vliet.
More than just accommodation
Hans den Boer, spokesperson for the UvA housing development department, concedes that there are discussions about a mixed campus (‘Our starting point is a campus with students from different institutions’), but that the division of students is ‘still something to discuss.’
But van der Vliet wants more from the UvA than just accommodation. ‘In the council debate, we also spoke about the benefits infrastructure such as a library or IT facilities would bring students in Almere.’ Den Boer says that there no concrete plans. ‘This is also a topic of discussion.’
In the past, the UvA had a branch of the Acta dentistry faculty in Almere, but it closed four years ago for financial reasons. Van der Vliet believes the UvA should return to the city. ‘The university wants something from us so now’s the time to put our demands on the table. If we don’t now, when will we?’
UvA: ‘No specific plans’
The UvA is investigating the construction of thousands of student homes in Almere but plans aren’t yet set in stone. Den Boer: ‘The UvA has concentrated education and research on four campuses to facilitate collaboration and exchange with the whole city. There are no specific plans to accommodate education or reserach in Almere.’
Van der Vliet says he is still working on his motion which he expects to submit to a municipal meeting in little over two weeks. He is confident that his motion will reach a small majority.