Photographer:Fotograaf: Archief Observant
There is no agreement after all between the UM’s Student Services Centre and Ecumenical Student Chaplaincy 'Tafelstraat 13' on the nature of required cutbacks. During the latest meeting of the university council, it appeared that at least the location could be maintained. The T-13 board has written a pressing letter.
The Student Chaplaincy is an independent foundation and not part of the UM, but the UM (through SSC) is its largest funder, with 90 thousand euros a year. T-13 is expected to give up one third of that. The fear is that the building would have to be vacated. During the discussions on the UM’s budget for 2012 in the university council, it seemed as if there was some movement. During question time, law student Jessica Lam delivered a passionate plea for continuation of the activities at the present location, followed by T-13 board member Heleen Vliex, who is also an academic advisor at the Faculty of Law. University council members such as Arjan Blokland took over: why such drastic cuts if in the end it’s peanuts compared to the university budget as a whole? Because, said rector Gerard Mols, “lots of peanuts together make a lot of money”. So the cutback of 30 thousand euros remains, but “T-13 is important and they can probably stay in the building, according to SSC director,” Mols reported.
SSC director, Astrid Boeijen, does not want to comment at this time. The board of the T-13 foundation, however, is not at all assured, as appeared from a detailed letter to the Executive Board and the deans this week, which was also sent to the university council. Board chairman Gerard Peters: “I was pleased with Mols' remarks; apparently the Executive Board feels differently to what was said in the official discussions with SSC. Hence this letter.”
T-13 is arguing for a smaller cutback, 20 instead of 30 thousand euros, and also complains about the fact that the UM/SSC is interfering with the content of its policies during the negotiations with the foundation. For example, the foundation uses some of its budget to fund the RC priest; the – very conservative - Roermond diocese does not want to foot the bill. The protestant churches, however, pay for their own minister. This situation has existed for 35 years, from the beginning of the chaplaincy. Now, Peters writes, the UM is suddenly making an issue of it, stating that as a matter of principle they do not want to pay for a RC priest. Withdrawal of the UM contribution on this point would very much complicate the team’s work, it was said.