MAASTRICHT. No less than four new parties are going to take part in the upcoming university elections. Climate and sustainability will be the most important themes between 20 and 23 May. One of these parties has both student and employee members, which is very exceptional at the UM.
A sustainability competition, the Green Office, the promise of being energy neutral by 2030. These are part of the current UM policy, but apparently it is not enough. Four new parties, all concentrating on climate and sustainability, have signed up for the University Council elections. What’s more, “UM employees and students contribute subconsciously to the destruction and exploitation of the earth,” states the promotion text from the new UM/FPN Sustainability party. The reason is that UM employees build up their pensions with ABP, a fund that invests in fossil fuel companies such as Shell.
The new Climate Action Network, with both student and academic staff sections, feels that we should do away with that. Integrate climate change in all curricula, the party says. The UM must guarantee “that no students should complete a study programme without having been in contact with the challenges and solutions regarding climate change.”
As far as seats are concerned, “As things appear at the moment, all seats will be filled, even though a number of lists still have to be officially confirmed,” says Niels Harteman, secretary of the central polling committee. That was not the case last year, when two student places in the Faculty Council for the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience remained unfilled. This year there are sufficient students for all councils, nearly all of whom are from the familiar Faculty Council parties, Harteman explains.
The administrative and support staff (OBP) also had problems filling all seats in previous years, but this year is different. The number of people on the lists is exactly equal to the number of OBP places in the Faculty Councils, says Harteman. Voting is therefore not necessary. In the case of the University Council it is, as there are five OBP candidates for four places.
Finally, a little trip to another Dutch university. There will be no university council elections for students at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam this year. There are not enough students who applied as a candidate (only ten, while there are twelve seats). The polling stations will open for employees for the university council in Rotterdam.