There are no candidates for the Service Council of the Maastricht University Office. And this is not the first time director Nick Bos will have to look at empty seats. Four years ago – the Service Council terms last two years – the same thing happened. So why aren’t there any candidates?
“There are colleagues, policy staff, who think they’re too close to the Executive Board and the decision makers, and that there’d be the risk of a conflict of interest”, says current council member Mary Peters. “You could question whether that’s a valid argument. As part of the Service Council you deal with things relating to the whole organisation, occupational health and safety and the environment; lots of different things.”
MUO director Nick Bos is not happy about the situation. Not even his personal appeal to all employees to put their hands up as candidates yielded a result. He is now looking for alternatives. In previous years when there was no Service Council, an informal advice council was set up to at least provide something of a sounding board; something like this might be needed again now, he says.
The situation at the other service councils is not much better. Only the Student Services Centre has a proper list to choose from; all other councils had only just enough candidates, who were thus automatically selected. It’s obvious that elections are definitely needed at the SSC, says Simon Vogel, staff member at the SSC and a candidate on the list: “It’s been a turbulent time. Take the recent appointment of Rob Frederix as interim manager. This was being talked about up and down the corridors, but with things like this you want to be able directly question the management, and you can do that in the Service Council. I want to be there, to be informed. That’s why I signed up.”
There are also elections for the student delegation in the University Council and the faculty councils. The candidate list has changed compared to last year. There are new parties Concordantia Representatives (Faculty of Arts and Sciences) and Poke (Faculty of Humanities and Sciences). Concordantia Representatives is a spin-off of the European Studies study association Concordantia and presents itself as a party striving for improvement, but not one that is taking a stand against the established parties. Poke hasn’t yet presented a party programme and wasn’t available for comment.
Meanwhile,‘Voor Uns’ (University Council), International List (Faculty of Law) and Kecsum (Faculty of Humanities and Sciences) have disappeared from the list. Kecsum has merged with Poke, International List no longer exists, and ‘Voor Uns’ was unable to find enough suitable candidates. “We were looking for someone who has some experience in a faculty council, but isn’t a member of Dope or NovUM. That’s hard to find”, says Anita Ham, former member of the University Council for ‘Voor Uns’ and an alum of Developmental Psychology. “I couldn’t be a candidate, because I graduated last year. ‘Voor Uns’ will now focus on work behind the scenes. But I really hope they can enter the elections again in 2011. I feel it’s important that a university council reflects the student population. ‘Voor Uns’ tried to get more students from Randwyck into the council. Normally the students from the inner city faculties are in the majority.”
Wammes Bos and Cleo Freriks