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Opinion

European Union: it’s time to wake up

European Union: it’s time to wake up

Changes need to be made to make the European Union understandable and accessible to all citizens, says Thilo Buchholz, president of the Young European Federalists Maastricht, in this open letter to the EU.
University Library should have open access for everybody

University Library should have open access for everybody

The University Library’s new access policy - only to UM students and staff - is a mistake, argue Stephanie Blom, Giulia Frinzi and Saskia Stolk from the Law Faculty. They call the policy elitist, unsympathetic and in clear contrast with the historical background and founding principles of Maastricht University.
Why “warm sweater week” does not work

Why “warm sweater week” does not work

Climate change is not a personal but a political problem, says Martin Unfried, senior researcher at the Institute for Transnational and Euregional Cross border Cooperation and Mobility. Good policies are needed, just raising awareness is not enough. It may not even help at all.
Divest Our Pensions

Divest Our Pensions

Pension fund ABP should stop investing in fossil fuel giants like Shell and ExxonMobil, says PhD researcher Sarah Thin, on behalf of Fossil Free Maastricht, in this opinion article. She asks UM staff to speak up.
We are scientists, not women in science

We are scientists, not women in science

Trying to promote women in science can have the opposite effect. Katherine Bassil, PhD candidate at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, tells in this opinion article how well-intented efforts to promote gender equality have led her to feel belittled and discriminated against.
When a revolutionary invention gets in the wrong hands: A CRISPR catastrophe

When a revolutionary invention gets in the wrong hands: A CRISPR catastrophe

Science Fiction. In 2018, the first genome-edited baby will be born. Reality. It’s 2018, the first genome-edited twins were born. In November 2018, the world woke up to the news that the world’s first genome-edited babies were born. The Chinese scientist He Jiankui who lead this work, released the news in the most controversial wa...

Opinion: Maajid Nawaz’s Ode to Despair

Opinion: Maajid Nawaz’s Ode to Despair

Tans lecture speaker Maajid Nawaz needs to get his facts straight, says Lana Sirri, assistant professor at the Centre for Gender and Diversity. In this opinion piece she fact-checks some claims he made during his lecture and warns for the dangers of downplaying Islamophobia.
Opinion: Is America becoming less democratic?

Opinion: Is America becoming less democratic?

After last week’s midterm elections in the United States, the Democrats were able to take back the House of Representatives while the Republicans held on to the Senate. The results of the election further emphasized the divisions in the U.S. electorate, with the country dividing itself up into blue Democratic parts versus red Republican ...
Change the patent system for medicine

Change the patent system for medicine

The patent system for medicine should be reviewed, so that pharmaceutical companies cannot use loopholes anymore to keep their patent – and therefore their monopoly – on medicine forever, says Universities Allied for Essential Medicine, a student-led global movement for access to medicine, in this opinion article in the light of Access ...
Paywalls: Taking science backwards

Paywalls: Taking science backwards

It was a Wednesday afternoon, dark skies, cold feet and nothing to postpone tomorrow’s deadline. I was supposed to write a research proposal and give a short presentation about it. Working last minute, as usual, my literature search was going nowhere. Every time I found THE paper that would save me, that would have all the answers to my quest...
OPINION: Transgenerational diseases: are you to blame?

OPINION: Transgenerational diseases: are you to blame?

Epigenetics is the study of environmental effects, including lifestyle habits, on an organism’s underlying genomic material or DNA. The underlying epigenetic mechanisms, are modifications to the DNA that dictate whether a certain gene will be turned on or off, carrying its own consequences on health and development. Many diseases such as c...

OPINION: Fashion feminism

OPINION: Fashion feminism

“The future is female” and “Girls run the world” are current statements printed on shirts which are striking my eyes while walking through an H&M store. Songs are shouting that girls are fighters and Hollywood embodies the principle of feminism at its best at the moment: Stars and artists are setting a symbol with the #m...
OPINION: Modern Frankenstein fears

OPINION: Modern Frankenstein fears

With the rapid pace of technological and scientific developments, it’s high time to have a thorough, wide-ranging discussion of their ethical consequences, says Katherine Bassil in this opinion article.
OPINION: Internationalization: a matter of content rather than numbers

OPINION: Internationalization: a matter of content rather than numbers

Being an international university is not only about the number of foreign students. Research and education at UM need to be steeped in all things international as well. It is time for a viable internationalization strategy, writes Lies Wesseling, Director of the Centre for Gender and Diversity.
Why we should talk more about the ethics of Neurosciences

Why we should talk more about the ethics of Neurosciences

Neuroscience affects everyone. That is why the long-term ethical questions it raises, should be discussed more broadly, says Neuroscience master student Katherine Bassil.
OPINION: Mind your words

OPINION: Mind your words

About a month ago a young American, Jennifer Kamorowski, entered this university as PhD researcher at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. She found that, living in the Netherlands, you have to have health insurance. You apply for it, at CZ, and get a letter back. In het Nederlands. Yes, in Dutch. Should immigrants be accommodated?
OPINION: The window is open but the curtains are closed

OPINION: The window is open but the curtains are closed

The University Council is transparent in theory, but a lot could be done on the practical points, says UCM student Sophie Silverstein in this opinion article.
Opinion: “The French and their penchant for scandal”

Opinion: “The French and their penchant for scandal”

She has a lot of electoral homework to do these days. On the back of the Dutch parliamentary elections, freelance journalist Lisa Dupuy, a graduate of University College Maastricht, is now looking south – to France. Thanks to her dual French nationality, she is eligible to vote in the upcoming elections on 23 April. Who are the candidate...
Myth-busting a myth busting

Myth-busting a myth busting

“Many ME-patients suffer from tremendous exhaustion for days after exercise, the so-called post-exertional malaise, or PEM. There were doubts as to whether the large British PACE trial was correct,” said professor of Internal Medicine and Immunology Jan Willem Cohen Tervaert, a couple of weeks ago in the Myth Busters- series of Observan...
The musty smell of sprouts

The musty smell of sprouts

Where is the student perspective in the anniversary book The Maastricht Experiment? That’s what Evelyne de Leeuw who studied and worked in Maastricht between 1981 and 2000, wants to know. It looks like students have been a hindrance rather than a necessity.
OPINION: What has the EU ever done for you?

OPINION: What has the EU ever done for you?

Twenty five years have passed since the signing of the Maastricht Treaty. What lies ahead for the European Union? Should it break up or become a federal superstate? Neither, says second-year European Studies student Kerstin Spath. It should stay just the way it is.
The Trump Effect on U.S. Foreign Policy

The Trump Effect on U.S. Foreign Policy

No matter who wins, the 2016 American presidential election will be defined by its rejection of establishment candidates and the electorate’s embrace of insurgents, who openly waged war on their own parties, argues dr. Roberta Haar, an American national teaching at UCM, whose area of research includes investigating U.S. foreign policy.
OPINION: “I can´t vote for someone I don´t believe in”

OPINION: “I can´t vote for someone I don´t believe in”

Why are many young Americans so disappointed in the presidential elections that they even consider not voting at all? Cydney Contreras (19) from southern California, who is an exchange student in political science at UCM, explains her considerations.
“Combine faculty introduction with INKOM”

“Combine faculty introduction with INKOM”

The number of people taking part in INKOM is decreasing. First-year students prefer the faculty introduction. The solution is simple, says Bob Meijer, chairman of student rowing association Saurus, combine the two introductions in one week.
Opinion: lack of critical thought from students during lecture about NATO

Opinion: lack of critical thought from students during lecture about NATO

“On Tuesday, February 16th, I attended the lecture A Changing NATO in a Changing World, organized by Studium Generale. Unfortunately, the loudest thing I heard during this lecture was the silence and a lack of critical thought from students. If nobody speaks up, how can we talk about a change at all? Neither about a changing NATO, let alone a...
Belgium: a failed state?  Well…

Belgium: a failed state? Well…

‘Belgistan’ is a failed state, the media say and that is why it is having so much trouble curbing the jihad reign of terror. But in this analysis people are not seeing the whole picture, argues Georgi Verbeeck, Belgian, senior lecturer of History at FASoS and part-time professor at KU Leuven.

Opinion: “Elected boards? Will that benefit science?”

MAASTRICHT. Should students and staff elect their boards, as René Gabriëls on behalf of the NUM wrote in the last Observant? Gerard van Breukelen, professor of Methodology & Statistics, is not at all convinced. Gabriëls’ proposal  “sounds  a bit too much like ‘all power to the Sovjets’”, he argues.

Opinion: “Full of false accusations and naïve”

MAASTRICHT. David Bernstein’s opinion on the New University Maastricht (Observant 27), is full of false accusations and from an academic and political point of view naïve, says René Gabriëls. Falsely he accuses the NUM of not being in for a dialogue, not knowing what democracy is and who is represented. His suggestion that what he says is not...

Opinion: The New University Roadshow Comes to Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. The problem with the New University is that ideologues of all stripes are the same. They are only interested in one voice: their own. That is what David Bernstein, professor of Forensic Psychotherapy, argues.  

OPINION: Maagdenhuis occupation: A national assault on education requires a national defence

MAASTRICHT. The true source of the dispute between students and the university board in Amsterdam, lies in national education policy and efficiency measures, says Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences-student David Darler, on behalf of the New University Maastricht, in this opinion article.