Diversity, sustainability and beer. If the party leaders who compete for the direct seats in the Central Studentcoucil (CSR) could choose, the UvA would become an academic paradise on earth. But what do they really want?
Describe your party in five key words.
Pelle Padmos (Inter/PPLE): ‘Loyal, decisive, transparent, democratic, entrepreneurial.’
Jeanine van den Heuvel (Red UvA/History and Philosophy): ‘Activism, critical, radical, abstentionism, solidarity.’
Parcival Maissan (Slaafs/Biomedical Sciences, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, teacher training biology): ‘Honest, simple, beer, beer, beer.’
Anna de Koning (De Vrije student/Law & PPLE): ‘Flexible, accessible, quality, small-scale, blended learning.’
Hahae Son (UvASociaal/Communication Science): ‘Include, engage, listen, represent, fight.’
English or Dutch?
Pelle: ‘English, but I don’t mean to say that everything should be in English. I think it is important that all information from the university should be available in both Dutch and English.’
Jeanine: ‘It is too simplistic to choose either one of these words. Red UvA stands for a university that is accessible for both Dutch and English speaking students. Nonetheless, Red UvA opposes the current policies regarding international students, since the board only wants these students because they bring the UvA more money.’
Anna: ‘Both. English at the university is more than welcome, as long as the quality of Dutch education is not affected.’
Hahae: ‘To choose one, is to exclude the other. Such a binary question only divides, when a crucial topic like language requires context and unity.’
What do you want to achieve in the next year?
Pelle: ‘We want decisions to be made transparently and democratically. I want to greatly improve the quality of education and academic flexibility. The UvA should be accessible to students with diverse socio-economic backgrounds. In addition, more attention needs to be paid to student welfare and sustainability.’
Jeanine: ‘Nothing. By abstaining from participating in the council, we want to show that the current student councils are a farce and do not provide students with a real say in policies. We will instead take our fight to the streets to achieve our goals.’
Parcival: ‘By means of free beer we try to make the council year fun for everyone and to keep in touch with our electorate. Our party has no fixed positions and council members use their own minds when making decisions or starting new initiatives.’
Anna: ‘We are going to devote our upcoming board year to matters that are really important to the student: as many lectures as possible to be recorded and made available online, more study spaces, smaller work groups, lower canteen prices, and of course the introduction of flex studying so that studying remains accessible to everyone.’
Hahae: ‘A diverse and engaged student community that thinks beyond campus borders. We have four pillars for ideological (and PR) purposes. At the end of the day, diversity, accessibility, sustainability, and education all reach for this overarching goal.’
What is your personal motivation?
Pelle: ‘I have always enjoyed taking part in debates and getting involved in the school board. The most important thing for me is the quality of education. As students, we pay a lot of money to study. It is our right to have quality education.’
Jeanine: ‘I want to change the university, which should belong to teachers and students and not to managers and the board. We demand a real say in university affairs, instead of the student councils that are ignored by the managers.’
Parcival: ‘I like to make a positive contribution to the university. The concept of our party was a great success at Science Park, and I think it will also work well on a central level. I have also learned a lot during my faculty council year, and I have met nice people. That is what I am going for again this coming year.’
Anna: ‘I have been committed to better education for years, both through volunteer work and through participation in decision making. Protesting and occupying are not the solution, constructive cooperation and putting your best foot forward will get you much further. That is why after a year of participating in the faculty council, I would like to commit myself to improve high-quality education at a central level.’
Hahae: ‘Whether I like it or not, I am naturally observant and conscious of my environment. Looking around me, I see inequality, and I see the people affected struggling to speak up. No longer do I merely wish to observe. I hope to serve, speaking truth to power, generating change.’