“Students again have to deal with the crap”

“Students again have to deal with the crap”

MAASTRICHT. Are the 252 prefab homes in Randwyck independent living units for which the inhabitant can apply for rent benefits? Or should they be ‘regular’ student rooms according to the permit issued? This has caused a conflict between Studentenhuisvesting Maastricht and the city of Maastricht. The University Council is concerned. Huurteam Zuid-Limburg is looking into the inhabitants’ questions.

“We must not stigmatise Chinese students and PhD candidates”

“We must not stigmatise Chinese students and PhD candidates”

MAASTRICHT. Even though there is more and more criticism from – among others – the academic world regarding collaboration with China, Maastricht University strengthens its bonds and welcomes about seventy Chinese doctoral students with grants, 50 per cent more than last year. “You must not stigmatise them; you must work with them on the basis of mutual respect.”

The decision will be made well before the summer: fully open or education at 1.5 metre distance in September

The decision will be made well before the summer: fully open or education at 1.5 metre distance in September

MAASTRICHT. Will the university be able to open its doors like normal in September? Or will the 1.5-meter distance still be a leading factor? The University Council’s education and research committee heard this week that the UM is preparing itself for both scenarios.

Campuses to open up again, even if there are self-test shortages

THE NETHERLANDS. Even if self-test deliveries to higher education institutions end up falling short this month, students will still be allowed to go to campus again one day a week. This was announced by the Ministry of Education last week.

An unexpected 11 million extra for UM

An unexpected 11 million extra for UM

MAASTRICHT. In the coming years, universities will receive more money from the government than initially promised. The reason: this year many more students enrolled at a Dutch university than estimated. That estimate is always the basis for the financing. Maastricht University will receive 11 million extra next year. That is earlier than usual in such a situation.

“We're considering a merger on 1 September 2021”

“We're considering a merger on 1 September 2021”

MAASTRICHT. Again, there are talks of integrating the Maastricht School of Management (MSM) into Maastricht University, and this time chances of success seem greater than ever. It was dean Peter Møllgaard who recently said in a faculty meeting of the School of Business and Economics that a merger was underway. MSM would move in with SBE at Tapijn. The Executive Board is not revealing anything for the time being.

“Internationalisation should be about talent but is becoming politicised”

“Internationalisation should be about talent but is becoming politicised”

THE NETHERLANDS. Politics is threatening to deal a blow to the internationalisation of higher education and research. Don’t let this happen, warns Freddy Weima, outgoing director of the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education Nuffic.

"There is too little money for too many students"

"There is too little money for too many students"

MAASTRICHT. The statue of Fons Olterdissen on the Grote Looiersstraat and a group of professors and lecturers are wearing a red beret this Tuesday morning. Five in total, because they were not allowed to call to demonstrate because of corona. Action group WO in Actie calls for attention to the plight of higher education. The problem in short: “There is too little money for too many students,” say Harro van Lente and Lies Wesseling, both professors and initiators of the Maastricht campaign.

Buy a paper? Click on a link from your own university

US/AUSTRALIA. Hundreds of universities in the United States and Australia are the victims of hackers, who do not shut down systems, but place links to ‘essay mills’, rogue websites where students can buy papers.

“Working from home is not a right, nor is it compulsory”

“Working from home is not a right, nor is it compulsory”

MAASTRICHT. Are we going to return to our familiar work spaces at the university? Or will we continue to mainly work from home after COVID-19? It will most likely be a combination of both, the Taskforce The Future of Working at UM expects. Before we get that far, a lot has to be sorted.

“We already have a fine now anyway”

“We already have a fine now anyway”

MAASTRICHT. “We are sitting apart!”, a guy shouts this Wednesday afternoon to a city enforcer in the park. The guy sees a hole, jumps up and runs away. His friends get a ticket: 95 euros per person.

“You have to be able to walk before you can run”

“You have to be able to walk before you can run”

MAASTRICHT. What will our lives look like in 2050? That was the question asked during the new online alumni event: the UM Star Show. The discussion in a studio in Arnhem, from where the talk show was broadcasted live via an online platform, focused mainly on technological developments. Some four hundred people watched how experts discussed the ethical, legal, medical and economic effects.

Open letter: UM speed up your sustainability strategy

Open letter: UM speed up your sustainability strategy

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University must develop concrete plans to achieve its sustainability goals. So say the more than a thousand signatories of an open letter, which was handed over to the Executive Board on Tuesday afternoon. Vice-chairman Nick Bos received the letter on the steps of the administrative building on the Minderbroedersberg. When asked, he said that the Executive Board will respond to the letter “in time”.

Chinese scientists pursue military expertise at Delft

THE NETHERLANDS. Are PhD students and guest researchers from Chinese military universities coming to TU Delft to gain expertise that will strengthen China’s military might? It’s a fear that appears to be well-founded, as the university’s magazine Delta reveals in a series of investigative reports published today.

Ten questions about coronavirus tests and higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. Self-test, rapid test, proof of testing, vaccination passport... we hear so many terms these days. So what’s what and what role will they play in opening the doors to higher education again?

Even more study spaces, education period 5 remains online

Even more study spaces, education period 5 remains online

MAASTRICHT. Education in period five remains online for all faculties, even if measures are relaxed in the meantime, said Rector Rianne Letschert to the University Council last Wednesday.

Can we demand test and vaccination passports for campus access?

THE NETHERLANDS. The return of face-to-face teaching seems to be getting closer all the time, but when the day comes will universities and universities of applied sciences be refusing to let in students who have not been tested or vaccinated? Many are still in doubt.

Kaleido’s ‘living room’ to settle in Tapijn in a year’s time

Kaleido’s ‘living room’ to settle in Tapijn in a year’s time

MAASTRICHT. Kaleido, which started off as an international student club in the Timmerfabriek and was subsequently housed all over the place, is expected to open its doors in Building Z at Tapijn in September 2022. No more temporary accommodation, but “finally a fixed place to meet,” says project leader Neal Cowan.

No relaxation of measures, not at the UM either

MAASTRICHT. There is no official announcement yet, but the anticipated relaxation of the measures in higher education will not take place. The number of infections is too high. The doors of Maastricht University will therefore not be opened (further) next week. A great pity, rector Rianne Letschert feels, and “terrible” for the students. “But you don’t want to end up in a full-scale third wave.”

Everyone is “completely fed up” with Zoom and working from home

Everyone is “completely fed up” with Zoom and working from home

MAASTRICHT. ​There have been signs that UM employees have too much work to get through, feel lonely or can’t always focus. But this has not (yet) led to a higher rate of sickness absence. Absence through illness at Maastricht University during the past COVID-19 year has remained the same as in 2019 (2.7 per cent). The past two months it was even a little lower than in the same two months of 2020.

Not every Master’s graduate to get a €535 rebate

THE NETHERLANDS. Students earning their Master’s degree this academic year are entitled to a €535 refund on their tuition fees. According to the Ministry of Education website, that is. But the more detailed information available from the Education Executive Agency (DUO) seems to tell a different story.

With 78% of votes counted, Liberals the big winners

THE NETHERLANDS. In its latest prognosis, with 78% of the votes counted, news agency ANP suggests VVD will win 35 seats in the 150 seat parliament, with D66 in second place on 24 – three down on the exit poll but still an increase of five on the party’s result in 2017.

Not everyone is happy with the rest and recovery plans

MAASTRICHT. The resolution by the Executive Board to fit in more rest and recovery time in an attempt to lower work pressure, has not been received well by everyone, rector Rianne Letschert said last week during a University Council committee meeting. She received reactions of approval but also some very unpleasant, “nasty” ones.

Breaking news: first-year tuition fees to be lowered to €542

THE NETHERLANDS. First-year students will pay only €542 in tuition fees for the next academic year: a quarter of the standard rate. This decision by the Ministry of Education represents almost 100 million euros.

‘ABP, don’t invest our pension savings in oil’

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. ABP, pension fund for the educational sector, has to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry once and for all: that’s the demand coming from researchers, students and staff all across the country. We can’t do that overnight, ABP says.

Universities go for GroenLinks, D66, VVD and Volt

Universities go for GroenLinks, D66, VVD and Volt

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. GroenLinks, D66, VVD and Volt. Those are the political parties (in that sequence) that will get the most votes from employees and students from various universities throughout the country this week. This is the outcome of a survey held by the university media in Utrecht (only among students), Rotterdam, Twente, Groningen and Delft.

520 study places available during XXL weeks

MAASTRICHT. There are too few study places at Maastricht University. The student delegation of the university council wrote this in a letter to the executive board this week. Even before the letter was discussed in the council, the number of study places had already been expanded.

Difficult start for COVID-19 breathalyser tests

Difficult start for COVID-19 breathalyser tests

MAASTRICHT. In October and November 2020, a trial with three COVID-19 breathalyser tests was to start in Amsterdam, including the Aeonose, which was researched at the UM. The latter, however, appears to have been withdrawn at the last minute. A breathalyser test from Leiden withstood the test and was used by the Area Health Authority (GGD), but its use was recently stopped. It is likely to be reintroduced soon.

Higher education faces at least three more weeks of lockdown

THE NETHERLANDS. Higher education will continue under the current restrictions until 30 March, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge said last night in their press conference. But after that the door might be opened a crack.

UM wants ABP to advance sustainability

MAASTRICHT. Sever the ties with sectors that “are related to fossil fuels” as quickly as possible. That is Maastricht University’s message to pension fund ABP in a letter that is now on the UM website. The university also wants to hear from the fund how it will ensure that investments become more sustainable in the future.

Research reveals a billion euro deficit in higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch higher education system needs hundreds of millions of euros in extra funding annually, says a report that the government shared last week. The distribution of funds can also be improved.

Minister says rapid testing will allow spring campus openings

THE NETHERLANDS. Minister Van Engelshoven expects that some students will be able to safely return to campus thanks to rapid testing for coronavirus. According to the daily Trouw, the government has huge numbers of such tests ready to go.

New official statistics: no rise in mental health issues among young people in 2020

THE NETHERLANDS. Students are suffering psychologically from the coronavirus crisis – that’s the conclusion of one study after another. But according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the number of young people with psychological problems did not rise significantly (again) in 2020.

“Life will pick up again in Brussels, including the UM Campus”

“Life will pick up again in Brussels, including the UM Campus”

MAASTRICHT/BRUSSEL. What are things like in Brussels? The Campus on Montgomery roundabout, run by Maastricht University, has been under lock and key since October 2020 – all activities, like guest lectures and graduation ceremonies, are online. 

UM wants this year too: starting on a master’s without a bachelor’s diploma

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University wants to uphold the flexible transition between the bachelor’s and master’s study for next year too. Rector Rianne Letschert said to the University Council last week that they were waiting for the minister to approve. That approval is expected by mid-March.

Saurians back on the water with four at a time

Saurians back on the water with four at a time

MAASTRICHT. “So much fun, our first training again. It is strange to be in the boat with so many people ”, it sounds on Wednesday afternoon at the jetty at Saurus. The four rowers and the steer in the boat are looking forward to it. As of today, young people under the age of 27 practice sports together again.

INKOM 2021 theme: These are the times

INKOM 2021 theme: These are the times

MAASTRICHT. The theme for INKOM 2021 is ‘These are the times’, announced the Working Group INKOM (WGI) last Friday in a YouTube video. It is still not clear what the Inkom will look like this year. “At the moment, we are working with four scenarios,” says WGI chairperson and medical student Iris Vloet.

Worries about transitional regulations for old-new Law curriculum

Worries about transitional regulations for old-new Law curriculum

MAASTRICHT. Student members of the law faculty council are anxious about the transitional regulations for the group who are following the ‘old’ Dutch Law programme, but who still have to resit exams – the programme has changed considerably since September. There are reports of study pressure, uncertainty and fear of not making it. Vice dean Sjoerd Claessens tries to convince them that “nobody will be left behind”.

SBE: Too many holidays, period five extended by a week

MAASTRICHT. The School of Business and Economics (SBE) wants to extend period five as of next year by one week. This is necessary, because due to all the holidays during that period, too much education is lost and the seven intensive contact hours per week are not feasible. The academic staff (academic staff) fear an increase of workpressure.

UPDATE: Will I be getting coronavirus support, too?

THE NETHERLANDS. The outgoing cabinet has earmarked an extra 8.5 billion euros to cushion the impact of the coronavirus crisis in the educational sector. Students will be compensated, too, but some will get more than others. You can check to find out.

Dutch Research Council (NWO) refuses to pay ransom to hackers

THE NETHERLANDS. The cyber attack on the Dutch Research Council’s network appears to have been perpetrated by DoppelPaymer, an internationally-operating ransomware group. The Dutch Research Council has refused to pay a ransom, even after some of their documents had been shared online.

Nuffic: lonely international students yearn for on-campus lessons

THE NETHERLANDS. International students are also struggling in these times of coronavirus crisis. Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education, announced this in a new report. Many of these students feel lonely, anxious or even depressed. But an occasional physical class makes up for this to an extent.

No relaxation of the restrictions just yet, but higher education is allowed to ‘prepare’

THE NETHERLANDS. As was feared, teaching at universities and universities of applied sciences will have to continue largely online for the time being. However, evening practical classes are permitted again, and the higher education sector has been given the green light by the government to ‘prepare’ itself to reopen.

Few students in Guesthouse isolation and quarantine wing

MAASTRICHT. Up until now, hardly any use has been made of the special isolation and quarantine rooms at the Guesthouse on the Brouwersweg. There were only two students living there who have tested positive. Approximately fifteen students have voluntarily spent ten days in quarantine, says Roel van der Nat, team leader at the Guesthouse. 

No more e-mails and WhatsApp messages at the weekend

No more e-mails and WhatsApp messages at the weekend

MAASTRICHT. No text messages and e-mails in the evenings and at the weekend. To lower work pressure Maastricht University (UM) wants to create more restful and recovery moments. It is also considering a shorter academic year and fewer exams.

“Just being able to see each other physically makes a world of difference”

“Just being able to see each other physically makes a world of difference”

MAASTRICHT. Social contact, some more social contact and preferably a little social contact. There is a great need for this among Maastricht students. Any other conclusion was impossible last carnival Friday. Rector Rianne Letschert had a discussion with the chairpersons of a number of study and student associations as well as a few University Council members, teachers and an UM psychologist via Zoom about student well-being.

All Saurus boats back on the water on 3 March

All Saurus boats back on the water on 3 March

MAASTRICHT. All boats of the student rowing association Saurus can get back on the water on March 3rd. Finally, sighs chairman Karel van Melle, “it seems an eternity ago that we could row unimpeded”.

UvA and HvA hackers have not yet demanded ransom money

THE NETHERLANDS. Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) have been victim to a cyber attack since last week, but thanks to security measures already in place, the damage appears to be limited. This attack is not related to the recent hack of the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

KNAW stands up for academic freedom

THE NETHERLANDS. The fierce battle for research funds is having an impact on academic freedom, argues Dutch science association KNAW. Researchers are increasingly being constrained by a spectrum of requirements and conditions.

Starting today: sixty extra study places at Tapijn

Starting today: sixty extra study places at Tapijn

MAASTRICHT. From today, Monday 22 February, vulnerable students can also study in Loods V at Tapijn. There is space for a maximum of sixty students. Study places may also become available at other locations of the university library soon.

Coronavirus compensation: 50 percent tuition fee reduction and relief for junior researchers

THE NETHERLANDS. Students enrolled in study programmes in the past year will receive a 50 percent reduction in tuition fees for the upcoming academic year as compensation for coronavirus disruptions. The contracts of academic researchers will also be extended, and higher education will receive compensation for skyrocketing student numbers. Student who pay the high tuition fee (instellingscollegegeld) get a reduction of 1000 euros.

Education for at least three faculties will remain online until summer

Education for at least three faculties will remain online until summer

MAASTRICHT. At the moment, practically all education is online, and that will remain the case for the rest of the academic year for three of the six faculties: Law, FASoS and FHML. The other three - if COVID-19 regulations allow – will switch to hybrid education in period five.

€40 per month working-from-home compensation

MAASTRICHT. All Maastricht University employees will receive a working-from-home compensation of €40 net per month until June 2021. This includes €30 for Internet expenses and €10 for the so-called ‘free space working expenses regulation’. The compensation paid by the UM is higher than the €25 that Dutch universities mutually agreed upon.

Selection for Medicine completely online

MAASTRICHT. Anyone who wants to start the study programme of Medicine in Maastricht in September 2021, will have to do the selection procedure completely online, writes Mirjam Oude Egbrink, scientific director of the Education Institute, in a letter to the faculty council of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences.

Unanimous support for ‘tuition-free’ extra year for students with delays: what now?

THE NETHERLANDS. Many students are falling behind in their studies due to the coronavirus crisis. The House of Representatives has just adopted a motion allowing them to enrol in an extra year of university free of charge. But it is too early to celebrate.

UM receives award for sharing cyberattack experiences

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has won the SURF Security and Privacy Award for the way in which it shared its cyberattack experiences with the public. The prize money of 2,500 euro must be used by the winner to further improve safety and privacy.

Minister Van Engelshoven wants to accommodate delayed students

THE NETHERLANDS. Students who are delayed due to the corona crisis do not have to pay the bill themselves, now also says outgoing minister Van Engelshoven. But not all of them need a full extension year as far as she is concerned.

Struggle for academic freedom flares up in Turkey

Struggle for academic freedom flares up in Turkey

TURKEY. On Monday night, 159 students were taken into custody in Istanbul in protests against the new rector of Bogazici University. The students see his appointment as President Erdogan's latest attempt to restrict academic freedom in Turkey.

Professors and students send an open letter to the Executive Board about sustainability

Professors and students send an open letter to the Executive Board about sustainability

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University must develop a concrete strategy, if it wants to be a sustainable university in 2030. This is stated in an open letter to the Executive Board, written by students from the KAN Party, lecturer John Harbord and professors Roberta Haar and Pim Martens. They invite the rest of the UM community to also sign the letter. The letter will be presented to the Executive Board on 27 March during Earth Hour.

Senators put law against Anglicisation in the deep freeze

THE NETHERLANDS. Proposed legislation against the Anglicisation of higher education (Language and Accessibility) has encountered a delay. The Dutch Senate only wants to discuss it when a new government has been installed.

UM Sports is also taking up the 100 kilometre-challenge

UM Sports is also taking up the 100 kilometre-challenge

MAASTRICHT. Walking or jogging 100 kilometres in the month of February. That is the challenge that UM Sports is putting to the university community. Participants can register their kilometres via the Strava app.

Lockdown until March 2, no decision on period 5 yet

THE NETHERLANDS / MAASTRICHT. The lockdown in the Netherlands will be extended until at least 2 March. Prime Minister Rutte announced this last night. Primary schools and childcare will open again from 8 February and products ordered from shops can b...

Possibly another one-off working-from-home compensation

MAASTRICHT. There will most likely be clarity about the second one-off working-from-home compensation this month, said vice president of the Executive Board Nick Bos when asked. This will not be a regulation that makes it possible to claim the cost of a babysitter at home, as the University of Amsterdam created.

Discussion at FPN about pass/fail assessment

MAASTRICHT. Not marking student exams with a grade, but just giving a pass or a fail: what are the advantages and disadvantages? This was discussed in the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience’s latest faculty council meeting.

UM’s 45th anniversary: empathic speech by rector in an empty St. Jan

UM’s 45th anniversary: empathic speech by rector in an empty St. Jan

MAASTRICHT. ​A great deal of understanding for the difficult circumstances in which staff and students have found themselves for some time now. At the same time, a lot of praise for what has been achieved this past year, despite – or maybe because – of COVID-19. Rector Rianne Letschert held an empathic speech in celebration of the 45th anniversary of Maastricht University.

Brexit: MEPs want Erasmus grants for Scotland and Wales after all

EUROPE/THE NETHERLANDS. Could it be possible to allow students from Scotland and Wales to still take part in the Erasmus+ exchange programme – despite Brexit? That’s the question 145 Members of the European Parliament put to the European Commission in a recent letter.

Education programme for period five: online or hybrid, decision next week

Education programme for period five: online or hybrid, decision next week

MAASTRICHT. Online education or hybrid after all? A decision will be taken very shortly about what period five – April to June –will look like. Rector Rianne Letschert made this promise to the University Council last Wednesday.

Equal opportunity? Honours programmes on track, says Minister

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Students whose parents had a lower level of education have less chance of being selected for honours programmes in higher education. Minister van Engelshoven finds this unfortunate, but there is little she can do about it.

Rector wants an alternative to online proctoring

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University would prefer to stop with online proctoring - online testing under camera surveillance - and switch to alternative testing options. Rector Rianne Letschert said this last Wednesday during the latest meeting of the university council.

LSVb wants online exam proctoring to end

THE NETHERLANDS. National student organisation LSVb reports that many universities and universities of applied sciences are still using online proctoring during exams, even though this gives rise to all sorts of problems.

Construction of new laboratory animal facility delayed considerably

Construction of new laboratory animal facility delayed considerably

MAASTRICHT. The construction of a new laboratory animal facility in Randwyck, the Biomedical Centre (BMC), has suffered a serious delay. It was to be finished this year, but that won’t be possible by a long shot. Discussions with potential construction companies and technicians are taking longer than planned; their prices are said to be too high. The Executive Board, together with the managers from the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, will provide more clarity at the beginning of February.

Many questions about students’ plan for a spiritual space at FASoS

Many questions about students’ plan for a spiritual space at FASoS

MAASTRICHT. The student fraction of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences wants a ‘spiritual space’ in the FASoS building. This would enable staff and students to pray, meditate or hold discussions. The proposal raised many questions during the latest faculty council meeting.

UPDATE 2: Fear of riots in Maastricht

UPDATE 2: Fear of riots in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. After riots broke out in several Dutch cities in recent days, there is now fear that rioters will be moving to the city center of Maastricht tonight - January 26. Messages on social media give cause for this. Maastricht University is taking precautions.

An intellectual, not a career tiger

An intellectual, not a career tiger

“The university that I once chose, unfortunately no longer exists. It was fantastic: young, with an experimental nature and lots of room for creativity. You could also be critical without being put in the corner.” Tannelie Blom, professor of European Studies, came to Maastricht in 1986, was one of those responsible for starting Arts and Social Sciences, and is one of the founding fathers of the bachelor’s and research master’s of European Studies. He is retiring this week.

Curfew likely to affect exam schedules

THE NETHERLANDS. Pending approval by the House of Representatives later today, there will be a curfew in the Netherlands between 20.30 and 4.30, until 9 February. Universities and students continue to hope that an exception will be made for exams scheduled in the evening.

Senate picks apart law against anglicisation of higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. Are we creating a paper tiger? And why should the government even get involved in such an issue? The Dutch Senate has voiced serious reservations about a new law that is intended to stop the anglicisation of higher education in the Netherlands.

Students: more drug use and financial worries due to Covid

THE NETHERLANDS. They are losing their jobs or getting their hours cut – nearly one in three students are struggling with financial worries during the coronavirus crisis, a survey conducted among 1,250 students reveals. Substance abuse is also on the rise.

Executive Board deviates from LOWI opinion on professor

Executive Board deviates from LOWI opinion on professor

MAASTRICHT. Did a UM professor of Cardiology commit a violation of scientific integrity or didn’t she? According to the Netherlands Board on Research Integrity (LOWI), she did – at least on one of the many points raised by the complainant, a PhD student. The Executive Board has decided not to act on this LOWI opinion, although the rector does speak of “questionable behaviour”.

English-language teaching: the show must go on

THE NETHERLANDS. In the eyes of the government, there are five good reasons for maintaining English-language teaching in higher education. Study programmes will have to meet at least two of the five conditions or switch to the Dutch language.

Now that the government has collapsed...

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch government was toppled Friday by the child benefits scandal. This will have repercussions on higher education because all kinds of draft legislation will be put on the shelf. What, for example, will happen to lotteries for popular study programmes?

Rapid testing for coronavirus to be trialled in higher education

NETHERLANDS. The lockdown will last at least three more weeks. The Ministry of Education wants to roll out rapid testing of students in a number of cities as part of a trial to see whether in-class teaching will be possible in the near future. Groningen will get the ball rolling next week.

Universities lower the standard for BSA

Universities lower the standard for BSA

NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. In view of the corona crisis and the recently extended lockdown, the 14 Dutch universities, including Maastricht University, are nevertheless lowering the standard for binding study recommendations (BSA) by 10 to 15 percent this academic year.

Extended lockdown: education period 4 online, dies celebration adjusted

Extended lockdown: education period 4 online, dies celebration adjusted

MAASTRICHT. Since the Netherlands will stay in lockdown until at least 9 February, Maastricht University has decided that education will continue to take place online in period 4. The program for the Dies Natalis - the 45th anniversary of Maastricht University - has been thoroughly stripped down.

Student representatives call on universities for leniency in BSAs

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. First year students are already under enough pressure. Don’t leave them out in the cold: lower the threshold for issuing binding study recommendations (BSA) to students who are not on course to pass first year. That’s the message sent by student representatives of eleven universities to their executive boards.

No new vice rector of education

MAASTRICHT. The post of vice rector of education will not be filled again, says rector Rianne Letschert. Vice rector Harm Hospers retired on 1 January 2021.

First steps towards new participation bodies

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch House of Representatives wants to see new regulations for participation bodies at institutes of higher education. Researchers, students and unions are taking advantage of this opportunity to submit their own proposals.

Only a handful of students on campus

MAASTRICHT. No tutorials, no lectures, no crowds in the corridors or in the mensa. It is quiet in the university buildings. Employees must work from home as much as possible, students have no access to the buildings. Although there are exceptions to the last rule.

International student with technology or IT aspirations? Welcome to the Netherlands!

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch government wants to recruit students from all over the world to come to the Netherlands to study technology and IT, two sectors plagued by shortages of skilled workers.

Martin Paul on the end of the Erasmus grant by the UK: “a great loss”

Martin Paul on the end of the Erasmus grant by the UK: “a great loss”

MAASTRICHT. The British are quitting the Erasmus + exchange programme. “A peculiar step,” says Martin Paul, President of Maastricht University. A step that he - just like his colleagues at British universities - did not see coming. There is a leniency regulation for students who had already arranged their exchange to the country before the deal was in place. They may cross the see until September 2022.

Brexit deal: yes to European research but no more Erasmus scholarships for British students

EUROPE/UK. The European Union and the United Kingdom struck an eleventh-hour Brexit deal at the end of December. The Brits will continue to contribute to the European research budget but are pulling out of the Erasmus+ exchange programme.

Diversity at the university: “Without hard data we'll never get there”

THE NETHERLANDS. "More diversity?” In academic circles this phrase often still means “more women”, says Saskia Bonjour, political scientist and member of The Young Academy. Too little is being done for other target groups.

RIVM director Jaap van Dissel to receive honorary doctorate from UM

RIVM director Jaap van Dissel to receive honorary doctorate from UM

MAASTRICHT. Jaap van Dissel, director of the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and professor of internal medicine at Leiden University, will receive an honorary doctorate from Maastricht University during the Dies celebrations on Friday 29 January. The doctorate is being awarded because of the combination of scientific work with a social role, the UM writes in a press release. 

UM will be using reserves in 2021

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University expects to spend nearly 11 million euros more next year than it will receive. This is stated in the 2021 budget. UM is not going to get into debt, but is relying on specially designated money boxes.

UM is switching to online; buildings closed

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University, like the rest of educational institutions in the Netherlands, will 'close' due to rising Covid-19 infections. Education is now completely online, at least until the end of the third block (end of January).

European grant for UM neuroscientist

European grant for UM neuroscientist

MAASTRICHT/NETHERLANDS. UM neuroscientist Federico de Martino has managed to obtain one of the 29 consolidator grants, which were allocated to the Netherlands by the European Research Council (ERC). With about 2 million euro each, our country comes in after Germany, the United Kingdom and France, just like last year.

More women in management at universities

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. The number of women in managerial positions at universities in the Netherlands has increased in the past three years, according to a new count by the Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH).

Letschert: Twitter storm about use of retirees “blown out of proportion”

MAASTRICHT. Is Maastricht University going to use retired lecturers as volunteers to mark exams and supervise theses? This is what a University Council committee asked rector Rianne Letschert last Wednesday.

Students hardly appeal to UM’s Covid-19 leniency regulation

MAASTRICHT. They graduated later than planned or have suffered a delay because the education programme had to be adapted because of Covid-19. A total of 27 students have recently appealed to Maastricht University’s Covid-19 leniency regulation. Fifteen requests were accepted.

HR director leaves prematurely

HR director leaves prematurely

MAASTRICHT. Antoon Vugts is leaving as director of Human Resources at Maastricht University. The ‘road to improvement’ upon which he embarked three and a half years ago has seen little progress, the Executive Board reported in an internal announcement to the university community. After “very enervating“ years and a recent “lengthy absence due to COVID-19”, Vugts is thought to lack the strength required to make the follow-up steps at HR.

“I feel more like a machine than a lecturer”

“I feel more like a machine than a lecturer”

MAASTRICHT. Work pressure has been a theme at Maastricht University for years. But since the start of COVID-19, it has increased exponentially across the University, both for academic and for support staff. Young lecturers at University College Maastricht seem to be having an extra hard time. There are times when they have up to four tutorial groups in a row on campus and all with the same content. Boring and exhausting, they say. At the weekends, they hold voluntary Zoom sessions for students. The dean is struggling to find a balance between the well-being of his students and lecturers. But for him the interest of the first group weighs heavier.

A debate on the future of universities “If nothing else works, we have to strike”

A debate on the future of universities “If nothing else works, we have to strike”

THE NETHERLANDS. “What do our universities need?” asked activists and managers during an online debate organised by the KNAW science association. The ideas discussed ranged from calls for a strike to criticism of turning a blind eye to inappropriate behaviour.

“You are suddenly no longer part of the UM family”

“You are suddenly no longer part of the UM family”

MAASTRICHT. Begging to be allowed to keep one’s e-mail address and UM Card, no form of support on the road to retirement, sometimes not even a farewell, and then the feeling that you are no longer part of the UM family. Retired and almost retired scientists often feel abandoned by Maastricht University. This became clear in a study carried out by professor Aagje Swinnen and three junior researchers into the experiences of the over-66 immediately prior to and after they retire.

UM and Radboud joining forces

UM and Radboud joining forces

MAASTRICHT. New master’s programme on the Venlo campus, an MBA course for care professionals and a teacher’s training programme in Maastricht. Maastricht University and the Radboud University in Nijmegen are going to work more closely together. The time when Nijmegen feared competition from Maastricht, seems to have passed.

“For a long time, you just try to fit in, but you will never become one of them”

“For a long time, you just try to fit in, but you will never become one of them”

MAASTRICHT. A report that is full of ‘he’ and ‘him’ when it is about a scientific director; female students who don’t go into detail during a tutorial group meeting for fear of boring their fellow students while the men tell their stories without any diffidence; after getting a new job, to hear that you must have gotten the position because you are a woman. The fact that equality between men and women is still far off, became clear in a panel discussion by the Maastricht Young Academy last Monday.

The Young Academy supports change in the way academic staff are evaluated

THE NETHERLANDS. The leading scientists of The Young Academy are squarely behind the new ‘recognition and reward’ system at Dutch universities, according to a collection of interviews and recommendations which they published Monday.

Maximum of two years to justify tuition in English

THE NETHERLANDS. English-taught educational programmes will need to explain the added value of teaching in English. If they fail to do so, they will only be able to continue teaching in English for a maximum of two years before they need to switch to Dutch.

Extended closure at Christmas, not a gift

Extended closure at Christmas, not a gift

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University will close its doors on 21 December, rather than 25 December. An extended ‘Christmas closure’. Why? “To give employees extra time to recuperate and rest,” the Executive Board wrote in a communication e-mail last week. Four extra days off? Yes, but at the expense of regular holiday leave.

FASoS tents too noisy for hybrid education

FASoS tents too noisy for hybrid education

MAASTRICHT. The two large tents at the back of the Turn hall on the Grote Gracht that have served as extra classrooms since the beginning of this academic year, are no longer used for this purpose on a regular basis, says Cerien Streefland, director of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. The walls of the tents are too thin to be used for hybrid education. One of the two now serves as a place to study with 25 study spaces.

Keuzegids 2021: not much new under the sun

Keuzegids 2021: not much new under the sun

MAASTRICHT. Keuzegids 2021 has been published, but it doesn’t contain much new information. The rankings are to a large extent comparable to those of last year, because the guide was based on the results of the National Student Survey from 2019. The survey was not held this spring because of COVID-19. The question is what all those figures tell now universities had to switch to online and later hybrid education.

Covid-19: Where does internationalisation go from here?

THE NETHERLANDS. How will the Covid-19 pandemic impact internationalisation in higher education and research? To get the discussion going, Nuffic has mapped out four future scenarios.

Internships during COVID-19: medical interns in action

Internships during COVID-19: medical interns in action

MAASTRICHT. Next Thursday, medical interns throughout the country are going to post selfies of themselves wearing facemasks or maintaining 1.5 metre distance. With the hashtag ‘#CotijdensCovid they want to appeal to their fellow students to continue to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations and give them a glimpse of what their lives look like at the moment.

Temporary contracts still widespread at universities

THE NETHERLANDS. Little progress has been made at Dutch universities when it comes to reducing the number of temporary contracts issued to staff. Over half of all teaching staff still have a contract that runs out on a specific date.

Abuse of power in a small world

Abuse of power in a small world

THE NETHERLANDS. Bullying, abuse of power, sexual harassment: many researchers have to deal with undesirable behaviour over the course of their careers. Trade unions have been calling attention to this lack of social safety for years and the Dutch Network of Women Professors also sounded the alarm last year.

“Every complaint is one too many”

MAASTRICHT. Fewer complaints from students about undesirable treatment while student numbers are rising, how is that possible? The confidential advisor for students looked into 36 cases last year, ten less than in 2018, while the university has expanded by approximately a thousand students. This raised questions in the University Council.

The Faculty of Law invests a million euro extra

MAASTRICHT. Until 2025, the Faculty of Law is going to invest a million euro, in particular in education, by appointing more (temporary) lecturers. The money comes from the faculty’s reserves, which will amount to more than 6.5 million in 2021.

Ombudsman puts finger on UM’s sore points

Ombudsman puts finger on UM’s sore points

MAASTRICHT. Poor or no communication, managers who are not capable of doing their jobs, unfair  treatment. These all contribute towards a work environment that feels unsafe and unpleasant, Maastricht University’s ombudsman concluded in her first annual report. Between February 2019 and August 2020, she received 85 cases from UM employees who had problems. In most cases, it was about existing or impending conflicts with their superiors. In particular PhD candidates frequently find themselves in a tight corner.

Slower advancement of female professors

THE NETHERLANDS. It may take until the year 2043 until there are as many female as male professors. The rapid increase in the number of female professors hired appears to have slowed down again.

Graduation ceremony postponed after students' petition

MAASTRICHT. Because of a petition from master students of medicine, their graduation ceremony will be postponed to March 2021. At least, for those who want to. "We are very happy that we can now choose."

Number twelve in the world, but at the bottom in the Keuzegids

Number twelve in the world, but at the bottom in the Keuzegids

MAASTRICHT. Rankings – some see them as a necessary evil, others as a helpful way to sift the wheat from the chaff. But where to start? What exactly is the value of the Times Higher Education ranking, which recently published the list for each discipline, for those who want to know what study programme to choose? Or the Keuzegids? And why do the assessments differ so much at times?

Illegal student party on Tongerseweg

MAASTRICHT. The police ended an illegal student party in the former Bonnefantencollege on Tongerseweg last Friday evening. The caretaker, who works for XIOR (a real estate company and lessor of the more than 250 self-contained student apartments in the complex), contacted the police himself.

Six times higher tuition fees for British students

Six times higher tuition fees for British students

MAASTRICHT. British students who are studying in the Netherlands but who do not officially live here, will have to dig deep into their pockets from January. Because of Brexit they will pay the high ‘institutional tuition fee’ instead of the much lower statutory tuition fee as of 2021. Whether it will be a hard or a soft Brexit makes no difference. For Maastricht this currently concerns about a hundred students.

Green light for UM exchange programmes

Green light for UM exchange programmes

MAASTRICHT. Second wave or not, Maastricht University is allowing its exchange programmes and work placements abroad to take place this academic year. Contrary to Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam, who feel that the uncertainty is too great. The UM’s foreign plans will have to meet certain requirements, says Martin Paul, president of the Maastricht Executive Board. “Safety above all.”

“I miss the chats before and after class”

“I miss the chats before and after class”

MAASTRICHT. She has a debate in the Lower House today and it almost feels like an outing with all those online meetings, says minister Ingrid van Engelshoven on Thursday morning at half past nine to eleven UM students. They were invited – every faculty asked one or more students – to speak with her for an hour or so about the quality of education during the corona pandemic. “What is it like for you to spend days on end in front of a computer screen? How do you find your feet as a first-year at a university during this pandemic? What do we need to remember when the pandemic has passed?”

The Young Academy: “Flying academics should stay on the ground more often"

THE NETHERLANDS. Universities need to do more to reduce their CO2 emissions from air travel, says The Young Academy. In a new report, they recommend learning from everything that has been achieved during the coronavirus crisis and investing in digital conferences and good webcams.

People at Maastricht University take the test: which coffee is the best?

People at Maastricht University take the test: which coffee is the best?

MAASTRICHT. There is a queue at the coffee vending machines next to the university cafeteria inside Universiteitssingel 40 this Tuesday morning. Not just because people want to start their day with a shot of caffeine; important work is going on here. As of 1 March 2021, all coffee vending machines at the university will be replaced. Today, students and employees may test which coffee they prefer. The candidates? Douwe Egberts and Segafredo.

Dear Professor, how honest are you?

Dear Professor, how honest are you?

THE NETHERLANDS. In the Netherlands, the largest ever study of scientific integrity and sloppy science is being conducted across all disciplines. Or that was the idea, at least, but most universities and teaching hospitals are withholding their cooperation.

“Abolition of BSA is an example of a cheap score”

MAASTRICHT. The Lower House wants to get rid of the binding study advice. The House voted in favour of a motion by GroenLinks last week. The minister will have to talk to the education institutes to no longer make this advice ‘binding’. Student unions are enthusiastic, but education experts in Maastricht were not immediately convinced. “You have to be able to offer an alternative.”

Student wellbeing at risk in coronavirus era

THE NETHERLANDS. New research shows that the coronavirus crisis has had a profound impact on students. They feel lonely more often, struggle to concentrate and are increasingly worried about study delays.

Update: About unethical experiments and algorithms

Update: About unethical experiments and algorithms

MAASTRICHT. Deep brain stimulation is hot, and can help with compulsive disorders, depressions, epilepsy, and in particular in patients for whom there are no more treatment options available. It may seem like a brand-new technology, but it’s not. American neurologist Robert Heath experimented with it in the nineteen-sixties, even though his experiments were not acceptable from an ethical point of view. Heath placed electrodes deep into the brain of a man in order to cure him of his homosexuality – considered a psychiatric illness at the time - and to increase the feelings of happiness.

Female scientists slipping behind during the coronavirus pandemic

THE NETHERLANDS. Scientists have been strikingly productive since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but a clear difference can be seen between men and women. This could be the result of the fact that care duties are imbalanced and more often than not fall on women.

“I don’t set much score to status or fame, for me it is about the subject matter”

“I don’t set much score to status or fame, for me it is about the subject matter”

MAASTRICHT. “I am sweet until people are unkind or don’t listen. Then I can be hard and nasty.” “I am an unorthodox type of person; I like to stray from the beaten path and I don’t hold my tongue.” “I can be a bit of a hothead.” “The adolescent in me is never far away.”

A random selection of the qualifications that Albert Scherpbier saw written about himself over the past 29 years in Observant. The man who officially said farewell as dean of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) last Friday, listens amusedly. He says it is all correct, although he has been able to control the hothead reasonably well as the years mounted.

Problems Proctorio cause chaos for some UM exams

Problems Proctorio cause chaos for some UM exams

MAASTRICHT. The most recent exam week at Maastricht University turned out to be chaotic on some days due to technical problems with anti-cheat software Proctorio. Students were thrown out of the system on one or more occasions and were therefore unable to complete their exam, or could not take it in peace. It is unclear how many students are affected. UM has, however, decided on a leniency arrangement. Anyone who has been troubled will get a new chance.

Stagnation in the implementation of sustainability plans

MAASTRICHT. Five definite plans came from ‘Green Impact’, a competition held last spring in which teams of students and employees could submit a project for a more sustainable Maastricht University. There was a ceremony where a winner was chosen at the beginning of July, and there was a lot of praise for the participating teams. Since then, the teams have heard hardly anything. “We are disappointed.”

Three Vidi grants for Maastricht

Three Vidi grants for Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Deep brain stimulation, cardiac arrhythmia, and motor disabilities. Three Maastricht researchers have received a Vidi grant of 800 thousand euro from research financer NWO. A total of  81 researchers had their proposals accepted.

“What is the penalty for not wearing a facemask?”

“What is the penalty for not wearing a facemask?”

MAASTRICHT. A lot of obscurity, so there were many questions in the University Council about the Covid-19 security protocol. The latest version was discussed during the University Council meeting last Wednesday afternoon. What is the penalty for not wearing a facemask? Who is going to monitor this? And is this legally watertight?

Sizeable additional costs because of cyberattack and COVID-19

MAASTRICHT. The faculties are spending less money this year, but at a central level and in the service centres, Maastricht University is spending a great deal more, or is losing income. This has to do mainly with the effects of the corona pandemic and the cyberattack, said financial director Ruud Bollen to the University Council last week.

“Those scammers are so cunning”

“Those scammers are so cunning”

MAASTRICHT. Two master’s students from Portugal lost two thousand euros to a rental scam. On WhatsApp, a man posing as a landlord had promised them a two-bedroom flat in the centre of Maastricht. It turned out to be nothing but a lie. Although the summer rush on student housing is over, posts about scams are still popping up on Facebook. International students in particular are being targeted. They shared their stories with Observant. “These kinds of things are damaging to the reputation of an international city.”

"It must not just be a declaration to put in a frame and hang on the wall"

"It must not just be a declaration to put in a frame and hang on the wall"

Going to university, reading a paper, going to a lecture or tutorial group meeting or just walking up the stairs: it is not matter-of-course for everyone. About two thousand students at Maastricht University have a functional disability that hinders them in their studies. Last month, rector Rianne Letschert signed a declaration of intent by the United Nations on the rights of persons with a disability on behalf of the UM. With this signature, the university wants to show how important it feels those rights are, in particular the right to education.

Removal expenses compensation: UM discriminates on the basis of age

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University’s removal regulations are wrong. In the allocation of compensations, it discriminates on the basis of age, decided het College voor de Rechten van de Mens (the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights) at the beginning of this month. Employees running their own household receive 7,445 euro compensation, while those who do not live independently, but for example live in digs or with parents, only receive 500 euro. The UM will take a closer look at the regulation.

Dutch MPs vote to reconsider binding recommendation

THE NETHERLANDS. A slim majority of MPs have voted to bring an end to the binding recommendation on the continuation of studies, a measure that essentially forces students to drop out if they make too little progress in their first year. They have backed a motion submitted by opposition party GroenLinks to reopen the debate on this hotly contested measure.

Coronavirus: more international graduates plan to leave the Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands as an ideal country in which to live and work after graduation? As a result of the coronavirus crisis, students from outside Europe are now less likely to stay after they finish their studies here. A new Nuffic survey reveals that just over half of new graduates are still planning to apply for a residence permit.

Students help students

Students help students

MAASTRICHT. The student psychologists don’t receive many questions related to COVID-19 problems, says Liesbeth Mouha, student psychologist and fellow organiser of the Well-being Week, which is to start next week. “The people who do come with them, have often been in trouble before. So something was already going on there.”

Studio MBB: making online fun

Studio MBB: making online fun

MAASTRICHT. They do agree on one thing: online meetings, presentations and discussions could be much more fun. “And it doesn’t need to cost that much money.” Just before COVID-19, Werner Teeling, who is responsible for communication with students at the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences, and Bernd Kapeller, project manager for digital innovation at Marketing and Communication, started with what has rather quickly expanded into Studio MBB.

“If we behave well now, we will soon be able to have drinks together again”

“If we behave well now, we will soon be able to have drinks together again”

MAASTRICHT. ‘Being able to give my friends hugs again.It is one of the quotes on the posters that can be found in the city, at the university, the clubs and association houses from Wednesday 21 October. Student associations Circumflex, Koko, and Tragos are participating in the national campaign #daardoeikhetvoor. An action by students for students, to impress upon them to take the COVID-19 measures seriously.

PhD students unaware of their rights, says PNN

THE NETHERLANDS. Having a baby, long-term illness, serving on a participatory body... PhD candidates often have no idea of their rights when it comes to obtaining a contract extension, says PhD Network Netherlands (PNN).

Testing continues to be a struggle

Testing continues to be a struggle

MAASTRICHT. The first exam period is nearly upon us, but it will be very different from previous years because of COVID-19. Maastricht University had already pared down the maximum number of students allowed in the MECC from 1,800 to four hundred. For most exams an alternative was already sought in the summer, for example in the form of essays or presentations. For 79 tests, use will be made of online proctoring: supervised digital exams. Checking for fraud has been outsourced to American software company Proctorio.

Face masks compulsory at UM from Thursday 15 October onwards

Face masks compulsory at UM from Thursday 15 October onwards

MAASTRICHT. From tomorrow, Thursday 15 October, onwards, all staff and students will have to wear a face mask in the UM buildings. Under the motto: while walking or standing, the face mask stays on, when you sit down, it can be taken off.

University Council critical about interim report on strategic plan

University Council critical about interim report on strategic plan

MAASTRICHT. A too positive approach and especially: much too little attention for staff’s workload. The University Council is critical about the interim report on Maastricht University’s strategic plan, which was discussed during a University Council committee meeting last week.

"Worldwide recognition of the international reputation of the UM and the MUMC”

"Worldwide recognition of the international reputation of the UM and the MUMC”

MAASTRICHT. Professor Martin Paul, chair of the Executive Board, received the ‘2020 AAHCI Distinguished Service Award’ last week. 

“After this week the hassle will be over”

“After this week the hassle will be over”

MAASTRICHT. Suddenly, deadlines for the assignments had disappeared, the online lecture videos faltered, and some students appeared to be scheduled in two places at the same time. The transition from Blackboard to the more user-friendly Canvas was not a flawless one, but by now the main problems have been solved, says Charles Bollen, the University Library official who led the change-over to Canvas.

Face masks: from urgent advice to obligation

MAASTRICHT. As of today, there is an urgent advice nationwide to wear a face mask in higher education, and that urgent advice will become a duty, as soon as everything is legally completed. Prime Minister Rutte announced this during the press conference yesterday.

Rector Rianne Letschert: “When they ask me later on what I am proud of, Global Studies is my definite number one”

Rector Rianne Letschert: “When they ask me later on what I am proud of, Global Studies is my definite number one”

MAASTRICHT. Yes, rector Rianne Letschert got dispirited by it at times. Here you have a “great new study programme” in which six faculties are going to collaborate – unique for the Netherlands and maybe even the whole world – and it looks as if it going to fail because of “laborious financial and bureaucratic systems that we designed ourselves”. After three years of “blood, sweat and tears”, Global Studies is finally there. “That is a long time for an impatient person like myself. But when I leave here and they ask me what I am proud of, Global Studies is my definite number one.”

'1 in 5 PhD students experience undesirable conduct'

THE NETHERLANDS. From screaming supervisors to professors wanting hugs, many PhD students experience undesirable conduct, warns interest group PNN. Whistle-blowing often yields no results. "It was made clear to me that I would not win anyway."

Diversity Day: “Feeling at home is the basis for success”

Diversity Day: “Feeling at home is the basis for success”

MAASTRICHT. “The university is focusing too much on solving the problem of loneliness, and not on preventing it. We need initiatives that will bring students in contact with others.” “There is no policy for disabled UM employees. That has to change.” These were a few of the remarks made during Diversity Day, which took place on 6 October. A day on which students discussed diversity and inclusivity at the UM. As well as the lack thereof.

Number of discriminating advertisements for rooms on Fbook is growing

Number of discriminating advertisements for rooms on Fbook is growing

MAASTRICHT. The number of discriminating Maastricht advertisements for rooms for ‘Dutch only’ or ‘German girls only’ on Facebook is growing. This leads to a lot of irritation on social media, but hardly any action to tackle it.

Feelings of insecurity and dissatisfaction at HR department

Feelings of insecurity and dissatisfaction at HR department

MAASTRICHT. There have been rumblings within Maastricht University’s HR department for some time. Employees apparently do not feel safe, there is supposed to be dissatisfaction about those in charge. An external advisor is now investigating the culture within HR, at the request of the HR management team and the Executive Board.

Randstad popular choice for Master’s students

THE NETHERLANDS. After getting their undergraduate degree from universities in cities such as Tilburg, Groningen and Maastricht, more and more students are choosing to do their Master’s in the Randstad. This is one of the observations reported by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) in an evaluation of the current Bachelor’s-Master’s system.

UPDATE: Fasos urges everyone to wear a face mask

UPDATE: Fasos urges everyone to wear a face mask

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Arts and Social Science (Fasos) urges students and staff members to wear a face mask. It's not  formally mandatory, although dean Christine Neuhold said during the Faculty Council meeting yesterday, that everyone "has to"  wear a mask. It's more nuanced than that, she says now. "When you say it's mandatory, people expect penalties. We will not have those." 

Nobel Prize in physics awarded for black holes research

SWEDEN. Three physicists were awarded the Nobel Prize today for their discovery of black holes. Roger Penrose proved that they could theoretically exist, while Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez were the first to discover a black hole in the Milky Way.

No Huibregtsen Prize for professor Jan Hamers

No Huibregtsen Prize for professor Jan Hamers

MAASTRICHT. The Huibregtsen Prize 2020 did not go to the Maastricht professor of Care of Older People Jan Hamers. The winners this time – in a very austere ceremony due to COVID-19 – were two researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Johan Hoorn and Elly Konijn, for developing ‘Alice’, a robot girl that helps combat loneliness among the elderly. Hamers was nominated by the MUMC+ for his work as leader of the Living Lab in Ageing and Long-Term Care.

FPN wants to freeze its budgets in order to make further cuts

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences is forced to make further cuts again. The faculty has been in the red since last year. It then made cutbacks to the amount of five hundred thousand euro, but it was clear that this would not be enough to bring the general reserve to the right level. According to the UM budget regulations it should be at 1.9 million. Currently it’s at 1.7 million. In addition, certain investments remain necessary, for example to set up the new bachelor’s programme of Brain Science.

Maastricht students: online education is far from ideal, but demonstrating is a step too far

Maastricht students: online education is far from ideal, but demonstrating is a step too far

MAASTRICHT. Online education is far from ideal, say Maastricht students. The quality of problem-based learning is suffering, whether it is purely online or in a hybrid form. There is less discussion, students are less likely to speak out and for newcomers it is difficult to get to know others. These are some of the outcomes of a round of questions by Observant. But demonstrating (online) with students from across the country last Friday for more face-to-face education, was a step too far for most of them.

The  Eifel is 'moving': consequences for the Einstein Telescope?

The Eifel is 'moving': consequences for the Einstein Telescope?

MAASTRICHT. An American study has shown that the earth under the German Eifel mountain range, to the south of Aachen, moves and rises by one millimetre per year. Does that have any consequences for the Maastricht research into gravitational waves? And hence also for the possible arrival of the hypersensitive Einstein Telescope?

Education, exams and research on campus continue as usual

MAASTRICHT. Education at Maastricht University will continue as usual, just like the planned exams in the Mecc and the research that takes place on campus. The latest corona measures of the Dutch govenrment won't change this. Employees still have to work from home as much as possible.

Student protest: we want more lessons

THE NETHERLANDS. Students want more face-to-face education. They will call for this at a protest on Friday at Museumplein in Amsterdam. "I've only been taught online this year."

"Vegetarians are very interested in cultured meat"

"Vegetarians are very interested in cultured meat"

MAASTRICHT. Cultured meat company Mosa Meat, a spin-off of Maastricht University, has received 55 million euros from private investors and 10 million euros from the Dutch government. Professor Mark Post will use this money to bring the cultured beef hamburger to market. Where it will be introduced first remains to be seen. “It could be in Singapore, if we get approval there earlier.”

What happens to the loan system millions?

THE NETHERLANDS. Wondering what universities plan to spend the funds from the basic student grant on? The NOS op 3 news desk has created a neat overview.

More students with mental health problems as a result of the coronavirus crisis

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of young people with mental health problems remained mostly stable in recent years. But the coronavirus crisis has made life harder for students, according to a new national study. Former professor and researcher Peter van der Velden has expressed concern.

You can’t always run to A & E with your minor little pain

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University recently appointed a health counsellor for students: a single contact person for students with physical health problems. Students won’t get a medical diagnosis and there will be no treatment either. The counsellor advises and points (foreign) students in the right direction of the often unknown world of Dutch health care.

Corona compensation only for final-year students for now

THE NETHERLANDS. About mid-way through your studies and already delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak? Too bad, because only students in their final year will be compensated financially. No changes to these plans are expected for the time being. A more elaborate scheme was rejected yesterday by one vote in the House of Representatives.

"You wouldn’t want to be known as the fraternity that became a COVID-19 hotspot in Maastricht”

"You wouldn’t want to be known as the fraternity that became a COVID-19 hotspot in Maastricht”

MAASTRICHT. The number of COVID-19 infections is rising rapidly and time and again the finger is being pointed at the students, who are alleged to have become the main source of infections and not to always be very particular about the rules. What about Maastricht? 'We really pay attention', it sounds more than once, 'especially in the week before we go to our parents'. But not every student is convinced of the contagiousness of the virus.

Rector Rianne Letschert: “A football team is not just made up of strikers or goalkeepers"

Rector Rianne Letschert: “A football team is not just made up of strikers or goalkeepers"

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Scientists teach, lead their department and share their insights with the general public. They are going to receive more recognition for this kind of work. But is it at the expense of their research?

‘More and more students paying way too much rent’

THE NETHERLANDS. National student union LSVb has issued a warning about the extremely high rents students currently pay for their rooms. Especially in cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht, access to accommodation requires deep pockets. The cheapest rooms are found in Enschede.

“My father said, ‘This is your dream, I trust you, you should go’”

“My father said, ‘This is your dream, I trust you, you should go’”

It was quite a shock for her parents when they heard that their daughter would have to move out in order to study Health Sciences. Nobody does that in Syria: “Everyone lives at home. We certainly don’t let girls live alone.” The rest of her family also told her not to do it over Skype. But on 31 August 2020, Hadeel Khawatmy (pronounced “Adele”) moved to Maastricht. “My father eventually said, ‘This is your dream, I trust you, you’re an independent person, you should go’.”

Temporary UM registration figures: almost 14 per cent more first-year students

Temporary UM registration figures: almost 14 per cent more first-year students

MAASTRICHT. The number of first-year students at Maastricht University is expected to increase by 14 per cent this academic year. The UM now has a total of more than twenty thousand students. The majority is from abroad, about 44 per cent has Dutch nationality. These are temporary figures, dating from 1 September.

Summer School continues with online courses this autumn

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht Summer School was attended by more than two hundred participants last year. “A record in our recent history,” says Annemarijn Weber. While everything had to be online because of the Covid-19 pandemic and they could only offer a small selection of their courses. There will be a repeat this autumn; not under the name Autumn School, but Maastricht Online Campus.

State budget: no extra money for education

THE NETHERLANDS. No out-of-the-blue budget cuts, but no extra funding either to ensure high-quality education during the coronavirus crisis. The government’s Budget Memorandum underscores the importance of good education but does not provide a generous budget. 

COVID-19 steward: “Sometimes I collect 25 thousand steps a day”

COVID-19 steward: “Sometimes I collect 25 thousand steps a day”

“Hello everyone, may I have your attention please,” student steward Artur Klatka asks a (COVID-19) filled lecture hall in the new UM building on the Paul Henri Spaaklaan. “I could see from outside that you were standing too close to...

Fasos: tutorial group in a tent

Fasos: tutorial group in a tent

MAASTRICHT. Two large white tents, model festival tent, have recently been installed behind the Turnzaal on the Grote Gracht. Since the start of the academic year, they function as additional tutorial rooms. The largest (25 by 15 meters) can accommodate 55 students in a Covid-19-proof setting, the second (15 by 15 meters) 40 students.

FHML Faculty development team wins excellence award

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty development team – responsible for the training of lecturers – from the department of Educational Development and Research (O&O) at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences has won the Aspire for Excellence Award. The prize is awarded every year by AMEE, an international association for medical education.

Growth Fund: is science about to get the money it’s been asking for?

THE NETHERLANDS. Over the next few years, the government will spend €20 billion on education & research, innovation and infrastructure. Is this the major investment that teaching staff and academics have been crying out for?

Audit team: “One hundred per cent COVID-19-proof doesn’t exist”

Audit team: “One hundred per cent COVID-19-proof doesn’t exist”

MAASTRICHT. At breakneck speed, all UM buildings - from Venlo to Maastricht – have been made COVID-19-proof  before the start of the academic year. Paul van Eekeren and Yves Maris from Facility Services were right on top of it as ‘COVID-19 protocol audit team’. “One hundred per cent COVID-19-proof doesn’t exist, it is now important that everyone takes their own responsibility.”
Not possible yet to shower at the sports centre, but training there is safe

Not possible yet to shower at the sports centre, but training there is safe

There’s a reservation system, stickers and signs galore, tape everywhere, a one-way walking system, and sanitiser can be found every few metres. Everything takes a little longer and requires a little more preparation than usual, but you can get...

20 billion for knowledge, innovation and infrastructure

THE NETHERLANDS. Ministers Hoekstra and Wiebes announced that the government has allocated 20 billion euros to help boost knowledge, innovation and infrastructure in the next five years.

Two European grants for Maastricht

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. The Netherlands has received 42 European research grants for young scientists this year. Two are for Maastricht researchers Katie Kuschminder en Olga Zvonareva.

New studios are going like hot cakes

New studios are going like hot cakes

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht boasts a number of large extra student complexes since this summer. Former offices on the Bassin, the Hertogsingel and on the Dokter Nevenstraat in Scharn have been completely stripped and renovated. In total, more than three hundred independent studios were added. The letting agents are not complaining about lack of occupancy. “Everything was gone within five weeks.” In Randwyck, where prefabricated ‘container homes’ arrived at premises of Maastricht University in June, things are progressing a little slower.

Two starting grants for Maastricht University

Two starting grants for Maastricht University

MAASTRICHT / THE NETHERLANDS. Katie Kuschminder and Olga Zvonareva from Maastricht University have both received a starting grant, a European research grant for young scientists. The Netherlands received a total of 42 this year.

Tapijn receives artwork and sustainability certificate

Tapijn receives artwork and sustainability certificate

MAASTRICHT. On Monday, the artwork of photographer Robin de Puy was unveiled in the renovated carré building at the Tapijnkazerne. It is a gallery of portraits - including those of Maastricht students - that together should express the diversity that Maastricht University stands for. The photos are printed on the thirty-meter long awning that hangs in front of the glass facade at the entrance.

Number of Koko registrations doubled

Number of Koko registrations doubled

The number of students who signed up with a student association has risen considerably this year compared to last year. Nationally, the number has grown more than fifty per cent, especially Eindhoven (79 per cent), Utrecht and Groningen (66 per cent)...

Maastricht rises slightly in the worldwide Times Higher ranking

THE NETHERLANDS / MAASTRICHT.The Netherlands still has eleven universities in the global top 200 of the British magazine Times Higher Education, but again most of them drop a few places. Wageningen, the national number one, drops from 59 to 62. Maastricht rises a few places to 121.

The storm has not yet passed

The storm has not yet passed

MAASTRICHT. The choice of theme ‘After the storm’ was somewhat optimistic, President Martin Paul admitted during the opening ceremony of the academic year at Tapijn barracks, which could be followed this year via a livestream. The COVID-19 pandemic is, after all, still in full swing. But that won’t prevent Maastricht University from working on its objectives, he emphasised.

UPDATE 2: 18 students UM with Covid-19

UPDATE 2: 18 students UM with Covid-19

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University is dealing with an increasing number of corona infections. The counter now (31 August) stands at 18 students who tested positive for Covid-19. The cause could be sought in student houses where the rules have not always been observed.

UM is growing rapidly: almost twenty thousand students

UM is growing rapidly: almost twenty thousand students

MAASTRICHT. Nearly twenty thousand students have enrolled at Maastricht University for this academic year. Last year there were about 19 thousand. The share of Dutch students is growing by 10 percent; that of the foreign students by 15 percent, says interim spokesperson Fons Elbersen. These are preliminary enrollment figures. Definitive data will not be available until December.

PNN: PhD students also suffer from heavy workload

THE NETHERLANDS. PhD students at Dutch universities often burn the candle at both ends, working long hours that sometimes result in burnouts and other psychological problems. Something needs to be done about the workload, says the Dutch network for PhD students, Promovendi Netwerk Nederland (PNN).

Rathenau: academia is performing well, but work pressure is high

THE NETHERLANDS. Researchers work a surprising amount of overtime and absenteeism is on the rise. That is a ‘point for consideration,’ says the Rathenau Institute in a report on the state of affairs in academia.

Two students tested positive for Covid-19

MAASTRICHT. Two students who participated in the Inkom, digital and on campus, tested positive for Covid-19. UM has heard this today, the university writes in a recently issued press release. The GGD (public health authority) is conducting a source and contact investigation

UPDATE: And again the introduction of student associations has to change

UPDATE: And again the introduction of student associations has to change

MAASTRICHT. Student associations and debating societies are trying to recruit new members, but the COVID-19 measures don’t make it easy for them. Especially because the rules keep changing. First, actual physical recruiting was allowed, then only online, and now it is different again, but how exactly? In the meantime, by-passing the strictest rules is not too difficult.

“It won’t all be cosy and comfy. Learning is sometimes very uncomfortable”

“It won’t all be cosy and comfy. Learning is sometimes very uncomfortable”

“Our dream is becoming reality because of you, students,” says an enthusiastic head of the Development Team Valentina Mazzucato. After three years of preparations, Monday 24 August is the kick-off for Global Studies, the new UM bachelor’s programme that is a collaboration between the six Maastricht faculties. Not all of the seventy or so students were present at the Vrijthof theatre. At least ten have travelling restrictions because of Covid-19.

Minister: cheating limited during online exams

THE NETHERLANDS. Education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven claims that students have not cheated en masse since universities switched to online exams this spring. Or at least, they haven’t cheated more than usual.

Foreign students in voluntary quarantine in Guesthouse

Foreign students in voluntary quarantine in Guesthouse

MAASTRICHT. At the moment six foreign students are in voluntary quarantine in the Annadal Guesthouse. They 've arrived from an orange or red area in the world. None of them is showing any symptoms or have tested positive for corona at the moment, says Roel van der Nat, manager of the Guesthouse. The ‘isolation corridor’ is empty. “Let us try and keep it that way.”

Even in times of COVID-19 the UM will grow

MAASTRICHT. Definite figures or growth percentages are not being given, the situation at the moment is “still too unsure,” say interim spokesperson Fons Elbersen. But it is no secret that Maastricht University can bank on more enrolments this academic year.
 

“Where will this end? Is the government also going to fix the rent?”

“Where will this end? Is the government also going to fix the rent?”

MAASTRICHT. Having a BBQ in the city park should be allowed. Pubs should be open 24 hours a day. You should be allowed to drink alcoholic beverages on the street. Hazing should be abolished. Just a few of the propositions discussed first by four political youth parties last Tuesday, and then by the four large Maastricht student associations. In English.

Student associations get green light for face-to-face events after all

THE NETHERLANDS. Student associations will be allowed to host introduction events for prospective members after all. After some initial hesitation, the Dutch government conceded to pressure from the House of Representatives.

“Don’t forget the 1.5 metres”

“Don’t forget the 1.5 metres”

“Could you please keep one and a half metres’ distance?” The new students at the entrance to the information market at Tapijn take a few steps to the side. “Thank you very much,” says the senior-year student, wearing an ...

Novum party leader exonerated

MAASTRICHT. The complaint submitted by student party Dope after the university elections in May, against Novum party leader because of  ‘misconduct’ is unfounded. This was the decision taken by the Executive Board last week. According to Novum’s leader, this was a case of “personal mud-slinging” against him.

Inkom 2020: a lot online, but also physical meetings

Inkom 2020: a lot online, but also physical meetings

MAASTRICHT. Now that the COVID-19 measures have been somewhat relaxed, larger physical gatherings can take place during the INKOM, from 17 until 21 August. This means that each participant will be given the opportunity to attend the evening meetings at least once and freshmen can also become personally acquainted with their group during registration. However, the digital programme will remain key.

Board SBE: “Please believe us, we don’t want to punish anyone”

Board SBE: “Please believe us, we don’t want to punish anyone”

MAASTRICHT. "Do we actually have a chance of changing any of your decisions or are we just here to listen to hear you explain them?” Last Friday afternoon, the School of Business and Economics held an online town hall meeting via Zoom for worried, angry and disappointed students who did not pass the first-year subject of Quantitative Methods 2. The exam was declared invalid because of fraud. The Faculty board is at a loss with the situation and is trying to find solutions where possible. Students (among 160 were present during the meeting) have questions. A lot of questions.

“UM should not say that Zwarte Piet is racist”

MAASTRICHT.  University Council member Sjaak Koenis feels that the university should not involve itself in political discussions. The Executive Board is doing that by saying that Zwarte Piet is racist.

Texting using during exams: new ways of cheating during the crisis

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. The number of suspected cases of academic misconduct during online exams is on the rise. In recent weeks cheating occurred at various universities, from Maastricht to Twente, to Rotterdam and Nijmegen. “We trust our students, but we are not naive.”

Allocation of 40 percent of the abolished student grants is still unclear

Allocation of 40 percent of the abolished student grants is still unclear

THE NETHERLANDS. After the abolition of the student grant in 2015, students were promised educational improvements. But will the 2.5 billion euros that is being made available up until 2024 also be spent on that? Research carried out by Folia shows that one in three universities and academic institutions do not as yet have a realistic spending plan in place.

“It is worth the students’ while to come to Maastricht”

“It is worth the students’ while to come to Maastricht”

MAASTRICHT. On campus when possible, online if necessary. That is Maastricht University’s slogan for its education activities in the new academic year. This slogan goes hand in hand with the appeal to students: come to Maastricht. How does the slogan work in practice? How many hours a week will a student spend in the university buildings? Observant took a tour of the various faculties.

Invalid exam, “bitter for the students, but it had to be done”

Invalid exam, “bitter for the students, but it had to be done”

MAASTRICHT. The Board of Examiners of the School of Business and Economics had “no other choice” than to declare the Quantitative Methods 2 exam invalid, says chairman Erik de Regt. “We stand for the integrity of exams.” Still, he does understand all too well that “this is very bitter for many students”. The faculty board wants to organise an online town hall meeting to give a proper explanation.

Teaching staff are getting burned out from the crisis

THE NETHERLANDS. Since the coronavirus crisis has hit, the pressure from work has gone up, say three-quarters of the members of the Dutch General Education Association (AOb). “It's even worse than we had thought,” says AOb board member Tamar van Gelder. Teaching staff want to get back to the usual way of teaching on site, and fast.

"We shouldn't suffer because of their mistake"

"We shouldn't suffer because of their mistake"

MAASTRICHT. The first-year exam of Quantitative Methods 2 was declared invalid this week, because some students had cheated. Students are outraged, disappointed and angry. Not in the least because the School of Business and Economics changed the rules after the exam, as a result of which ‘insignificant’ little intermediate tests have suddenly become decisive factors in passing or failing the course.

Cheated: Test 1,200 SBE students declared invalid

MAASTRICHT. An exam of 1,200 students of the School of Business and Economics has been declared invalid due to cheating. That is what news website nu.nl has just reported. It would be Quantitative Methods 2, which was taken online on June 12.

#Metoo: can you act on an anonymous complaint?

THE NETHERLANDS. Touching, intimidation, indecent comments… It did not lead to a formal complaint at the University of Amsterdam. Can institutions of higher education take action in such cases? Three lawyers on the complications.

'The UM could have been better prepared'

'The UM could have been better prepared'

MAASTRICHT. The Inspectorate of Education is satisfied with Maastricht University’s performance after the cyberattack last December. Everything was focused on the continuation of education after the Christmas period, it states in a report that was published last Friday. To this end, the Executive Board took “well-considered decisions”. With this, the Inspectorate approves of the ransom payment by the UM. Nevertheless, the hack had more drastic consequences than was necessary. The UM could have been better prepared, suitable measures were “not always” taken beforehand.

ISO: Tens of thousands of students behind in their studies due to corona

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of students with a study delay has risen by 54,000, says the Dutch National Student Association (ISO) based on new research. According to ISO, this increase is due to the coronavirus crisis.

UvA lecturer discredited for ‘touching’

THE NETHERLANDS. For years, Master’s students at the University of Amsterdam have complained about the unacceptable behaviour of one lecturer, writes NRC Handelsblad. The University of Amsterdam says the article is very one-sided. The lecturer in question is still employed by the university.

UM Board: against racisme and against Zwarte Piet

MAASTRICHT. Zwarte Piet is racist. That is now Maastricht University’s official viewpoint. On 10 June, prompted by the worldwide protests against racism, the Executive Board published a statement, in which it refers to the “diverse and inclusive” character of the UM.

On an exchange? That will also be possible at another UM faculty

On an exchange? That will also be possible at another UM faculty

MAASTRICHT. Students who do their exchange visit (partly) from home (i.e. online) next year, will still be entitled to the EU exchange grant Erasmus+. Also, non-EU students who, because of the travel restrictions, have to re-apply for a visa, need not pay the 147 euro cost. The UM will take care of that.

Novum party leader accused of misconduct in University Council elections

Novum party leader accused of misconduct in University Council elections

MAASTRICHT. Novum’s leader is said to have violated the code of conduct during the latest University Council elections. Various student parties have lodged a complaint. There will be a hearing on Thursday june 18th.

Court sides with University of Amsterdam on use of surveillance software

THE NETHERLANDS. The University of Amsterdam (UvA) can continue to use surveillance software during online exams. This is the outcome of preliminary proceedings brought before the Amsterdam District Court by two student councils and a UvA student.

Dubious contracts for PhD students: big differences between universities

THE NETHERLANDS. There has still been no drop in the proportion of PhD students being offered a short-term contract or a part-time appointment. There are large differences between universities, however, notes the Dutch network for PhD students, Promovendi Netwerk Nederland (PNN).

NWO gives crisis-stricken researchers more time

THE NETHERLANDS. Holding online interviews, easing deadlines and taking a customised approach: the Dutch Research Council (NWO) is showing its flexible side by accommodating the needs of scientists whose work has suffered delays due to the corona crisis.

Rectors: a generation of students could be lost

THE NETHERLANDS. The rectors of Dutch universities write in an opinion piece that they fear for their students’ development if options for lecture hours remain limited. The school leaders call for more room for students.

Analysis: Racism in higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. After George Floyd was killed by an American police officer, many hundreds of thousands of people all over the world took to the streets to protest against racism. But what is the current situation in terms of racism in Dutch higher education?

Peaceful Black Lives Matters demonstration in Maastricht

Peaceful Black Lives Matters demonstration in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Some 1,400 people protested yesterday (Sunday) on the Griend against racism and police brutality. Among them also many (international) students.

First prefabricated units for students have arrived

First prefabricated units for students have arrived

MAASTRICHT. The first prefabricated student units arrived in Randwyck last Tuesday. They still have to be furnished and hooked up to water and electricity. In two months’ time, from August, 252 students can move into this accommodation on the grounds of the former sports hall.

Petition: Students must keep their average

MAASTRICHT. A student of the School of Business and Economics wants Maastricht University to introduce a "no detriment policy" due to the corona crisis. He has started a petition and hopes that the average grade that students have achieved so far will not decrease if they score worse for the upcoming exams.

SBE abolishes online proctoring for large-scale exams

SBE abolishes online proctoring for large-scale exams

MAASTRICHT. Exams at the School of Business and Economics involving large groups of students, will not take place with the use of proctoring. That was the Faculty Board’s conclusion after the so-called stress test. Organising large-scale online exams in which dozens of employees need to be at hand to act as proctors appears to be a bridge too far.

Dope remains the largest despite of seat loss

Dope remains the largest despite of seat loss

MAASTRICHT. For the sixth year in a row, Dope wins university elections, although their predominance is declining significantly. The party remains represented in both the university council and all faculty councils, but goes from 25 to 18 seats. After years, Novum loses the silver medal and only wins six (last year they got eight). The turnout in the service council elections was significantly higher (55.8 percent) than in the student sections (23.5 percent).

Waving to your colleagues in the toilet

Waving to your colleagues in the toilet

At the School of Business and Economics, it is keeping to the right as much as possible in the corridors and sometimes it is better to look to the right as well. Certainly if you are passing the toilets near the university restaurant on your way to t...

“Much is still uncertain; we must consider various scenarios”

“Much is still uncertain; we must consider various scenarios”

MAASTRICHT. The University Library doors were ajar this week, the first researchers are allowed back in their laboratories, and on the Tongersestraat a trial project is being run to test the social-distancing campus. The UM is preparing itself for the ‘new normal’. “But much is still uncertain. We are preparing ourselves for something that is ever-changing, we must consider various scenarios,” says Nick Bos, vice President of the Executive Board.

Corona crisis: a quarter of non-EU students scrap plans to study in the Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS. Only four in ten prospective students from outside Europe are still determined to come to the Netherlands to study, according to a survey by Nuffic. Due to the corona crisis, 25 percent have abandoned their application, while the rest are still in doubt.

University library reopens with limitations

University library reopens with limitations

MAASTRICHT. The University Library in the city centre has re-opened. The first 75 students found a place at the library on the Grote Looiersstraat 17 last Monday.

41 candidates for ten seats on the University Council

MAASTRICHT. With no fewer than 41 candidates for ten seats on the University Council, students in Maastricht are really spoilt for choice in these university elections (from 25 -28 May). This is quite different at most other universities. At the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, for example, there are just enough candidates to fill the seats and so there will be no elections. Why are people in Maastricht so enthusiastic? Observant visited the candidates.

Petition against online proctoring at the UM

Petition against online proctoring at the UM

MAASTRICHT. Student party Novum has started a petition against online proctoring of exams at Maastricht University. Three faculties apply this form of digital examination, in which students are supervised by webcam. A considerable breach of privacy, which Novum feels is not allowed. In the petition, the student party refers to this type of examination as “unlawful and unconstitutional”. These are “Orwellian developments”.

Elections only for ICTS and FS Employees’ Councils

MAASTRICHT. No less than nine candidates have put their names forward for the ICTS Employees’ Council. There are five seats available. This means that the Employees’ Councils at the ICT department and Facility Services are the only ones to actually hold elections next week. For the other councils, this is not necessary because the number of candidates equals the number of seats.

Multi-million-euro open science deal with Elsevier

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutions have reached an agreement with the scientific publisher Elsevier on open access publishing and open science.

Dutch Research Council and the lockdown: ‘Women harder hit than men’

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. The current crisis has thrown the allocation of research funding by the Dutch Research Council into chaos. But when it comes to shifting deadlines, the action group Athena's Angels fears female scientists are at a disadvantage.

Yes, the doors are opening again

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed yesterday evening that institutes of higher education will open their doors again starting on 15 June for practicals, exams and guidance for vulnerable students.

DKE designs motivational posters

DKE designs motivational posters

MAASTRICHT. The Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering has come up with an original way to motivate students for the exams, which will start in two weeks. Students can download motivational posters with their favorite teachers. Ass...

Coronavirus: a €535 tuition-fee refund for those graduating late

THE NETHERLANDS. The government is allocating €200 million to support students during the current crisis. These funds will be deployed to benefit students in vocational education and training (MBO), higher professional education (HBO) and university education.

Cabinet: “No students in public transport during peak hours”

THE NETHERLANDS. Universities and universities of applied sciences will most likely be able to open their doors for essential practicals and exams in mid-June. But students should minimise their use of public transport.

Studying by 1 September? Face-to-face as much as possible in Maastricht

Studying by 1 September? Face-to-face as much as possible in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Unless the government throws a spanner in the works, all students will come to Maastricht again after the Summer, as far as the UM is concerned. Education activities will take place partly ‘on campus’ and partly online. Students who cannot come to Maastricht (yet), for example because they are not allowed to leave their country or are sick, will receive a “full-scale online offer”.

Online election campaign will be “a lot tougher”

Online election campaign will be “a lot tougher”

MAASTRICHT. No stands in the university buildings, no flyers to hand out, no chance to speak directly with passing fellow students. It will be a lot more difficult to campaign now that it must be done digitally, expect the student parties participating in the university elections from 25 to 28 May. That is when the new student members will be chosen for the Faculty Councils and University Council. “You are dependent on the people who already follow you on social media, it is difficult to reach the wider audience.”

Solo rowers at Saurus are allowed to get going again

Solo rowers at Saurus are allowed to get going again

MAASTRICHT. Student sports association Saurus is (partially) open. Single-person boats (skiffs) are permitted in the water again. The rowers must adhere to a strict corona protocol. With this, Saurus is the first Maastricht student association to get going again. It is expected that other associations will follow soon.

New collective agreement for universities: pay increase and bonus

NETHERLANDS. University employees are to receive a 3 per cent wage increase as well as a bonus of 750 euro. That is, if the union members accept the negotiators’ agreement.

UM Guesthouse half empty; new room reservations trickling in

UM Guesthouse half empty; new room reservations trickling in

MAASTRICHT. The UM Guesthouse is currently half empty. “About 450 students have left early. Some of them even left behind all their belongings”, says Maurice Evers, head of department at Maastricht Housing. As of this week, students at the Guesthouse who decided to stay despite the coronavirus crisis and students who decided to leave early will be given the option of extending their stay for a maximum of twelve months so that they can complete their degree or exchange.

Unclear how many new students will enrol

Unclear how many new students will enrol

MAASTRICHT. How many international students have already enrolled to study at Maastricht University next academic year? Is there cause for concern, or no reason to worry? The Executive Board won’t publish the numbers. “The situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic is exceptional, complex, and very uncertain”, says interim spokesperson Fons Elbersen.

Coronavirus: starting on a master’s without a bachelor’s diploma

Coronavirus: starting on a master’s without a bachelor’s diploma

MAASTRICHT. Bachelor’s students who have gained almost all credits – at least 80 per cent, or 48 ECTS – of their last year, may - contrary to the norm – embark on a master’s programme at the UM in September, the Executive Board has decided.

Rector Rianne Letschert warns of potential ‘collapse’ of Dutch universities

MAASTRICHT. If the universities can no longer open for the foreseeable future and students stay away, there is a chance that some could collapse. Student cities could also be badly hit, warns Rianne Letschert, Rector Magnificus at Maastricht University.

Studying in September: ‘On campus if possible’

Universities are doing their level best to provide online working groups and lectures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The question is whether up-coming students want distance education. Is studying during the pandemic worth the bother? It certainly ...

Postponement but no cancellation for international students

THE NETHERLANDS. International students still want to come to Europe, but more than half want to delay it by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the outcome of a large survey by the QS Intelligence Unit.

"Also this generation students must be able to take a blow"

"Also this generation students must be able to take a blow"

THE NETHERLANDS/ MAASTRICHT. “We must be able to take a blow, which also applies to this generation of students. If their first reaction to the corona crisis is ‘How will I be compensated?’, then I think that is very sad. ” That is what rector Rianne Letschert said last Sunday evening during a television debate with experts about life after the corona crisis.

Almost 35,000 euro of emergency aid for UM internationals; there are still funds available

Almost 35,000 euro of emergency aid for UM internationals; there are still funds available

MAASTRICHT. The emergency fund that was set up by Universiteitsfonds Limburg/SWOL for students suffering from money problems because of the corona crisis, has already paid out about 35 thousand euro. The same amount is still available for on-going or new applications.

‘Give foreign graduates more time to find a job’

THE NETHERLANDS. Corona crisis or not, students from outside Europe must find a job within a year after graduating. Otherwise they will be sent back to their own country, the ministry of Justice and Security confirmed.

Prime Minister Rutte (briefly) joined a Maastricht tutorial group

Prime Minister Rutte (briefly) joined a Maastricht tutorial group

MAASTRICHT. And then suddenly, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands appears in the Zoom tutorial group meeting. That happened to the students at University College who were taking the Macrosociology block. What was that like? “Great!” “Quite an honour.” “That I get to experience that as a foreign student. I will never forget it.”

Youths protest against online proctoring

THE NETHERLANDS. Having your webcam on while you take an exam? Preferably not, say young politicians and students. They have serious objections against ‘online proctoring’ and demand an alternative.

Three women to lead FASoS

Three women to lead FASoS

MAASTRICHT. The new Faculty Board at Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) consists completely of women. This has never happened before at Maastricht University. Moreover, all three have foreign nationalities.

Alternative Inkom: mainly digital

Alternative Inkom: mainly digital

MAASTRICHT. Two weeks ago, Maastricht University’s crisis management team decided that there would not be a normal Inkom this year. The decision was taken in consultation with the Working Group Inkom (WGI). “Initially, we were of course very disappointed,” says chairperson Milou Berdenis van Berlekom. But after a brief period of time to recover, the working group is now slowly looking towards the future, to see what is still possible. Student associations meanwhile fear that the number of members will drop.

Not many jobs for the ‘Job bank’

Not many jobs for the ‘Job bank’

MAASTRICHT. Some university employees have been extra busy since the corona crisis, others have had very little to do. Since the beginning of April, the UM departments with a lot of work can report to the so-called ‘Job bank’. An employee from another department, where there is less work, then takes over the job. Except not much use is being made of it. 

University Council against FPN’s alternative plans for money for quality agreements

MAASTRICHT. May the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences adapt the quality agreements? Can the money that has been freed up with the abolishing of the basic grant be used differently than was previously agreed? The University Council does not think so.​

"Do you accept privacy problems just because it works well?"

"Do you accept privacy problems just because it works well?"

MAASTRICHT. To Zoom has almost become synonymous to video calling. Maastricht University has recently taken out a licence for professional use of the video and meeting app. No worries, the institute said, with the necessary precautionary measures using it is safe. But is that the case? It is true that Zoom is a user-friendly app – that is why it is so popular – but it is regularly in the news because of privacy and security problems.

Dutch big five pension funds lose €77bn in Q1 as coronavirus hits markets

THE NETHERLANDS. Four of the five biggest Dutch pension schemes have been hard hit by coronavirus-related panic on the financial markets, and their coverage ratios have shrunk to around 85%, according to first quarter figures.

Hospitals get ready to start treating non-coronavirus patients again

THE NETHERLANDS. Family doctors have made 360,000 fewer referrals to hospitals since the government first brought in measures to stem the spread of coronavirus on March 12, the national health council NZa said on Monday.

First applications from students in financial difficulties being processed

MAASTRICHT. The first sixty applications by students in financial difficulties are being dealt with by the University Fund, SWOL. Two weeks ago, the fund started a crowdfunding venture for students who were skint because of the corona crisis. More than 34 thousand euro has been collected since then. A maximum of 1,500 euro is awarded per application.

Corona virus: majority of Summer School courses cancelled

MAASTRICHT. Most of the 55 courses offered by the Maastricht Summer School will not take place because of the corona crisis. A selection of eighteen that are also suitable for online distribution, will go ahead. That is to say, if there are sufficient enrolments.

A lot of agitation about the corona crisis in the student fraction of the University Council

A lot of agitation about the corona crisis in the student fraction of the University Council

MAASTRICHT. Not in the usual small hall but online: last Wednesday (8 April), the University Council had a meeting via Zoom for the first time since the corona crisis. It was especially the student fraction that is worried about the impact.

Number of students stranded abroad is decreasing

MAASTRICHT. Today (9 April) there are still 24 Maastricht students who are stranded abroad and want to return home. It concerns students who were on an exchange visit outside Europe. Last Wednesday, the number was 36 people.

UM psychologist: students can’t find us online

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht University psychologists have noticed that it is tougher to reach students who are not actually present at the university. “They are receiving a lot of information, you can tell that they are focussing mainly on their education,” says team leader Mieke Jansen. The students that do come to us have remarkably few corona-related questions.

“You wouldn’t put a student from Vancouver in the morning group”

MAASTRICHT. The School of Business and Economics has adapted its schedules for 120 foreign students for period 5 (starting on April 14) in order to prevent those students from having to attend tutorial group meetings at ungodly hours. The students concerned are exchange students – from countries such as Australia or the  US – who live in different time zones.

Changing role of student association: keeping in contact and boosting morale

Changing role of student association: keeping in contact and boosting morale

MAASTRICHT. Online drinks, answering pupils’ questions, and challenging each other through Instagram challenges: all activities having been cancelled, student associations are attempting to keep in contact with their members through all kinds of ways in order to keep spirits up. The reduced activity will have no influence on the boards’ subsidies, says Pascal Breuls, director of the Student Services Centre.

The first tutorial group starts at two-thirty in the morning

The first tutorial group starts at two-thirty in the morning

MAASTRICHT/NEW YORK. From Tuesday, 14 April, Nils Kok, associate professor at the School of Business and Economics, who lives in a suburb of New York, will set the alarm for two o’clock in the morning. Half an hour before the first of four tutorial groups starts. His teaching day finishes at around twelve o’clock in the afternoon, local time.

“The payments were fraudulent, but he didn’t commit fraud”

“The payments were fraudulent, but he didn’t commit fraud”

MAASTRICHT. VitaK, the now bankrupt subsidiary company of Maastricht University, was not supervised closely enough, allowing conflicts of interest to arise. And Leon Schurgers, a UM professor who used to work for VitaK, was involved in questionable activities with false invoices. These are the results of an investigation conducted by UM after local newspaper De Limburger and Dutch weekly news magazine De Groene Amsterdammer published allegations of fraud at VitaK last summer. The university now emphasises that it has been tightening up the rules and regulations for its researchers’ commercial activities in the past few years and will continue to do so.

SBE master’s students accused of plagiarism

MAASTRICHT. Now that the first online exams have been made, there are also the first cases of fraud. For example, ten out of the hundred master’s students who did the take-home exam for the subject of Behavioural Finance this week, used exactly the same words to answer a number of questions. They will get a NG (No Grade) for their exams and each will be asked to individually provide an explanation to the Examination Board.

The Netherlands extends anti-corona measures to April 28, at least

THE NETHERLANDS. Special measures to stop the spread of coronavirus in the Netherlands are to be extended until April 28 at least, prime minister Mark Rutte told a press conference on Tuesday.  ​

Dutch will announce tonight how long to extend the ‘intelligent lockdown’

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch ministers, health experts and other officials are meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss how long the Netherlands will extend what prime minister Mark Rutte has described as an ‘intelligent lockdown’ in the country’s bid to get coronavirus under control.  ​

Coronavirus hospitalisations near 4,000, Dutch death toll hits 864

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of people who are or who have been hospitalised with coronavirus almost hit 4,000 overnight, the public health institute RIVM said in its Monday update.​

“There is no negotiating on the quality of the diploma”

“There is no negotiating on the quality of the diploma”

MAASTRICHT. You can't replace a multiple-choice exam for 800 students by a take-home exam. Marking would be unfeasible. So, what then? Postpone the exam and hope that it can take place in the Mecc before September after all? Or look for alternatives? The UM Examination Boards are focussing on dilemmas like these and are searching for solutions almost every day. The exam period for block 4 is scheduled to start on Monday, 30 March.

"We shouldn’t lose sight of the human side of things"

"We shouldn’t lose sight of the human side of things"

MAASTRICHT. All Maastricht education is to be carried out remotely until the end of the academic year. But what does that mean for staff and students? Tutorial groups work through Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Blackboard; lecturers are working on online lectures. But what about large-scale exams in the MECC? What are the alternatives?

Distance academic education until 1 June?

Distance academic education until 1 June?

THE NETHERLANDS. The government has prohibited all gatherings until 1 June because of the corona crisis. But the ministers were non-committal with regard to education.

UM researchers: corona is given high priority

UM researchers: corona is given high priority

MAASTRICHT. The research group led by Peter Peters, professor of Nanobiology, is to set aside some of its regular research, in as far as there are people in the lab, in order to free up time to research the coronavirus. Specimens of the virus will be studied in the lab in the hope of setting the next step in the development of a medicine or vaccine.

Maastricht has cancelled all face-to-face education until summer

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. Maastricht University and Leiden University have cancelled all face-to-face education for the rest of the academic year. Other universities and universities of applied sciences are considering doing the same.

Binding study advice deferred for all Maastricht first-year students

Binding study advice deferred for all Maastricht first-year students

MAASTRICHT. All Maastricht first-year students who find themselves with too few credits at the end of August and therefore do not meet with the requirements of the binding study advice (BSA), will be given respite, the Executive Board has decided.

"With the cyberattack we were alone, now it's a worldwide crisis"

"With the cyberattack we were alone, now it's a worldwide crisis"

​After the cyber crisis at the turn of the year, Maastricht University must now face the coronavirus. Again, a crisis management team (CMT) has been set up, and again Vice President of the Executive Board, Nick Bos is its leader. “With the cyberattack we were alone and had to find our own way, now it is a worldwide crisis and we can lean partially on the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Area Health Authority (GGD).”

Students help in hospital, GGD and in neighborhood

Students help in hospital, GGD and in neighborhood

MAASTRICHT. Many students want to contribute towards the containment of the corona crisis. Also in Maastricht where here and there sheets of A4 with telephone numbers have been hung up. Professor Christiaan Hoebe, head of Infectious Disease Control Zuid Limburg Health Authority (GGD), is impressed by the help offered, but would like to inform the students that the RIVM guidelines must be observed: 1.5 metre distance, place shopping on the ground and have money ready (or pay by bank card).

Many exchange students leaving Maastricht

Many exchange students leaving Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. As the lecture halls remain empty, the corridors of Guesthouse UM and The Student Hotel are growing quieter and quieter as well. We don’t yet know exactly how many students have left, but last weekend at least a hundred of them checked out of the Guesthouse early. This number is only expected to increase in the days to come, says Maurice Evers, department head Maastricht Housing. There are also students who don’t want to go home because they are afraid of increasing their family members’ chances of getting infected.

“My family is very worried about me”

“My family is very worried about me”

Samuele Livraghi, a first-year student enrolled in the Maastricht Science Programme, is from Lombardy in northern Italy. Although no one in his family has yet been infected with the coronavirus, the situation back home is “quite stressful. New ...

UPDATE: UM shifts to online teaching

UPDATE: UM shifts to online teaching

MAASTRICHT. As of Monday 16 March 2020, UM has shifted completely to online teaching. How exactly are faculties going about this? Have they come up with alternatives for large-scale exams that needed to be cancelled? Will exams be postponed to the summer, potentially ruining both lecturers and students’ holiday plans?

 
Are student houses corona-proof?

Are student houses corona-proof?

NEDERLAND. It’s better not to organise parties, nor is it a good idea for five people to watch a film on a two-seater sofa. Students need to use common sense in this crisis.

Covid-19 measures: how are students reacting?

Covid-19 measures: how are students reacting?

MAASTRICHT. What do the preventative measures that have been taken to curtail the spreading of the coronavirus mean for student associations and organisations? Observant asked the four largest – Koko, Tragos, Circumflex and Saurus – and found out that they immediately closed their doors on Thursday. Initially, Saurus wanted its rowers to continue training, but cancelled that as well on Saturday. The associations have also asked their members not to come together anywhere else, but to stay at home. Board members work from home as much as possible.

UPDATE: no PhD defences for time being

UPDATE: no PhD defences for time being

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board has decided to postpone all academic sessions, at least until April 6.

Observant: only online for the time being, not on paper

Observant: only online for the time being, not on paper

MAASTRICHT. Observant will only be published online for the next few weeks (www.observantonline.nl) and not in printed form. This has to do with the measures taken to curtail further spreading of the coronavirus as much as possible: students are no l...

NWO also on hold

NETHERLANDS. Dutch Research Council and funding organisation NWO is not conducting any interviews with applicants for research grants for the time being. Applicants will most likely have to wait a few anxious months more because of the corona crisis.

UPDATE: University Library closes its doors, all UM buildings closed for students and staff as of 16 March.

UPDATE: University Library closes its doors, all UM buildings closed for students and staff as of 16 March.   MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has closed its doors for students with effect from 16 March. This includes the University Libra...

Only distance education, mass exams cancelled

Only distance education, mass exams cancelled

MAASTRICHT. As of Monday, 16 March, Maastricht University will only provide distance education. Compulsory attendance has been abolished, mass exams – such as those in Mecc – for block period 4 have been cancelled. Employees should work from home as much as possible.

UM still open, but makes preparations for possible (partial) closure

UM still open, but makes preparations for possible (partial) closure

MAASTRICHT. The University of Antwerp has been locked down, Denmark has closed all schools and universities, the university sports centres of Tilburg and Eindhoven will remain closed until at least Monday, 16 March, and the TEFAF art fair was discontinued prematurely last night. The Executive Board of Maastricht University sees no reason for drastic measures yet, but is preparing for a variety of scenarios.

XIOR disputes rent tribunal judgment

MAASTRICHT. Student housing company XIOR, owner of the Carré building on the Tongersestraat and other property, is going to court to appeal against two decisions taken by the rent tribunal. The tribunal, which is an independent organisation that formally settles conflicts between tenants and property owners, recently ruled in favour of two tenants renting studios in the Carré building. The rent agreed was said be too high and a serious fault was identified (mould in the bathroom), for which the students should receive a discount on their rent.

Corona: Students launch petition ‘Shut down Maastricht University’

Corona: Students launch petition ‘Shut down Maastricht University’

MAASTRICHT. Last Tuesday, three Italian students launched a petition in which they urge Maastricht University to close its doors because of the coronavirus. Within twenty hours, it was signed more than a thousand times. But for the time being, closure is not on the cards. Students in Randwyck are already noticing the effects of the stricter measures in the hospital. They are called on to avoid the MUMC as much as possible; interns are not allowed in the operating theatres until further notice.

“Does everybody understand the message of the RIVM?”

“Does everybody understand the message of the RIVM?”

The amount of coronavirus infections is increasing in the Netherlands, but according to the government we are still in the ‘containment stage’. Rigorous decisions have therefore not yet been taken. What do Maastricht scientists think of the actions of the National Institute for Health and the Environment (RIVM)? According to the book? Or far too weak, as twitterers suggest.

MUMC cancels events; no more interns in operating theatres

MUMC cancels events; no more interns in operating theatres

MAASTRICHT. While Maastricht University is not cancelling any education activities, exams or events yet because of the coronavirus, MUMC steps up measures by calling off all meetings and receptions until 1 April. In addition, students who are doing internships are not allowed inside the operating theatre for the time being. Nor are they given any other tasks that require the use of face masks. The latter is because of the scarcity of protective materials.

Fewer evening patrols by city law enforcement units

Fewer evening patrols by city law enforcement units

MAASTRICHT. The city of  Maastricht is facing a budget deficit of 12 million and needs to economise. Part of the measures presented by the Mayor and Aldermen last week, is reducing the number of evenings on which law enforcement units patrol. This has caused great disappointment in the Buurtbalans residents’ platform.

Staff member has tested positively for the coronavirus

Staff member has tested positively for the coronavirus

MAASTRICHT. A member of staff from Maastricht University’s department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering has tested positively for the coronavirus. This was confirmed by the South Limburg Health Authority on Thursday, 5 March. The person concerned lives in Aachen and has stayed at home by way of precaution, having probably contracted the infection in Germany. At that time, he or she did not yet show any symptoms.

Elsevier reports women gaining ground in research

THE NETHERLANDS.  Worldwide, women in research continue to trail far behind men. But the gap is narrowing, science publisher Elsevier reports ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Coronavirus closes schools, most Dutch infections traced to northern Italy

THE NETHERLANDS. As the death toll from coronavirus in the Netherlands hits three and the number of confirmed cases was put at 264, Dutch health officials say there is as yet no reason to take further precautions or increase the rate of testing.

Concerns about work pressure because of mentor programmes

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Law is appointing about seventy lecturers next academic year, as mentors to supervise all first-year students (roughly seven hundred). This plan is the result of the quality agreements, the funds that became available after the abolishment of the basic grant and that universities and universities of applied sciences invest in the improvement of education. The academic staff members of the faculty council, where the plan was recently discussed, are concerned about the pressure of work, which is already high.

No corona virus diagnosis at UM, but some students have reported sick

No corona virus diagnosis at UM, but some students have reported sick

MAASTRICHT. So far, 25 students from Maastricht University have reported sick for education activities. They will stay at home because they are sneezing or coughing or have a fever in combination with having recently returned from a high-risk area for the corona virus, such as Northern Italy. In such cases, the UM advises to remain at home for two days and see how the illness progresses. No student or member of staff has yet been diagnosed with the so-called Covid-19 virus.

Tapijn carré buildings opened

Tapijn carré buildings opened

MAASTRICHT. There is still a big excavator in the yard and some builders are still walking around here and there through the building, but last Monday the first batch of UM moved into the carré buildings on the Prins Bisschopsingel. This included the University Library and SBE.

“I’m straightforward, I’m Austrian”

“I’m straightforward, I’m Austrian”

MAASTRICHT. Christine Neuhold, professor of EU Democratic Governance and director of UM Campus Brussels, will be the new dean of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. She will succeed Professor Sophie Vanhoonacker as from 1 September 2020.

Chinese academia now also rejecting pressure to publish

CHINA. Chinese universities are to end their fixation on publication scores in leading journals, China’s government has announced. It plans to steer a new course.

Tutorial and council at the same time: that results in punishment

Tutorial and council at the same time: that results in punishment

MAASTRICHT. Tutorial and council meeting at the same time? Whatever one you skip as a student, your absence will be penalised. This must be stopped, feels the student fraction of the University Council.

Corona in the Netherlands; classes continue

THE NETHERLANDS. Wash your hands, sneeze in your sleeve and use paper tissues. Beyond that, says the Dutch government, there’s little students and schools can do to stop the coronavirus.

Possible ban on smoking in UM Randwijck from 23 March

Possible ban on smoking in UM Randwijck from 23 March

MAASTRICHT. From August 2020, all education premises in the Netherlands must be smoke-free. Randwijck may even start sooner. The Rookbeleid UM (UM Smoking Policy) working group suggested that they should start on 23 March. The Executive Board “looks upon this favourably”.

UM judgement in fraud case complete, but not made public

UM judgement in fraud case complete, but not made public

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board has taken a decision in the case in which a PhD candidate accused her cardiology professor of research fraud. This was based on the advice from the Committee for Scientific Integrity. The two outcomes will not be made public. The Board says it is maintaining its “duty of confidentiality” that applies to this type of procedure.

No ‘taxpayer’s’ money to cybercriminals

No ‘taxpayer’s’ money to cybercriminals

MAASTRICHT. The ransom that was paid to the cybercriminals on 29 December after they had put a digital lock on Maastricht University’s computer systems, did not come from the UM’s regular reserves. The sale of a company from UM-Holding just prior to the hack, had yielded enough to pay the almost two-hundred-thousand-euro ransom.

Two new deans: Harald Merckelbach for Psychology, Annemie Schols for FHML

Two new deans: Harald Merckelbach for Psychology, Annemie Schols for FHML

MAASTRICHT. Harald Merckelbach, Professor of Forensic Psychology, is to become dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences again as of 1 May. He will succeed Professor Anita Jansen, who was awarded a major Gravitation subsidy  (20 million) and is now returning to research. Annemie Schols, director and researcher at Nutrim, will succeed Professor Albert Scherpbier at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences as of 1 June. The latter is going to retire.

What to do with fossil fuel investments: divest vs shareholders’ pressure

What to do with fossil fuel investments: divest vs shareholders’ pressure

MAASTRICHT. In what should the university’s pension fund ABP invest its – or better said, the pensioners’ – money? Fossil Free Maastricht wants them to stop investing (divest) in fossil fuel companies as soon as possible. ABP’s policy is to stay engaged with the companies to put pressure on them to make changes. The way forward was discussed at the debate Pension vs Planet, Monday night in a packed Aula on the Minderbroedersberg, organized by Sustainable UM2030.

A prophet who was not honoured in his own country

A prophet who was not honoured in his own country

Geert Hofstede is no longer with us. He died on Wednesday, 12 February, at the age of 91 in Ede, his place of residence. For years, the emeritus professor of Maastricht University was known as ‘the most quoted economist in the Netherlands&rsquo...

Hardly any discrimination against Asian UM students

Hardly any discrimination against Asian UM students

MAASTRICHT. A Dutch carnival song about the coronavirus and Chinese, which was broadcast by Radio 10 DJ Lex Gaarthuis, led to a lot of criticism from various Chinese-Dutch organisations. They felt it was causing hatred and discriminating. It was even reported to the police. Various national media wrote elaborately on the matter with long stories about discrimination against people of Asian origin. What about Asian students in Maastricht?

Students are not swayed by rankings

Students are not swayed by rankings

MAASTRICHT. With the Keuzegids in hand, Observant visited the bachelor open day last Saturday. To what degree do prospective students use the rankings by these self-proclaimed Dutch “independent study programme comparison list” as guidance? Do they choose University College Maastricht because it has been at the top of the list for years? And is Psychology in Maastricht the preferred choice rather than the programmes in Amsterdam and Leiden, which dangle at the bottom of the list?

Letter bombs go off in Amsterdam and Kerkrade, no injuries

THE NETHERLANDS. Letter bombs have gone off at an ABN Amro post sorting office in Amsterdam’s Sloterdijk business estate and at a post sorting office in Kerkrade, police confirmed on Wednesday morning.

50,000 sign coronavirus petition, as Chinese community speaks out

THE NETHERLANDS. Nearly 50,000 people have now signed an online petition denouncing discrimination against people of Chinese origin in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak since it was launched at the weekend.

More university lectures should be available to everyone online: VVD

THE NETHERLANDS. Far more university and college lectures should be available remotely for the general population to watch, according to MPs from the right-wing Liberal VVD.

Temporary contracts: large differences between universities

THE NETHERLANDS. Whereas one university readily hires lecturers and ‘assistant professors’ on a permanent basis, another prefers to offer its teaching staff temporary positions. The differences between institutions are large, says the Rathenau Institute.

‘New start’ for student services bureau Jules

‘New start’ for student services bureau Jules

MAASTRICHT. The real estate management of student services bureau Jules, which was declared bankrupt in December, is to be taken over by GeWOON in Geulle, curator Joep Tummers from Paulussen Advocaten announced. It is not really a new start, bec...

“Great moral objections” against paying a ransom

“Great moral objections” against paying a ransom

MAASTRICHT. It is now official: yes, a ransom was paid to the cybercriminals who hacked the UM systems on 23 December. And yes, the amount was almost two hundred thousand euros. Why was the UM not adequately protected? The Executive Board’s answer to this question has many different shades. And no, it is not likely that any personal data or scientific data fell into the wrong hands: further investigation continue.

Solution to the conflict between UM and PhD candidate

Solution to the conflict between UM and PhD candidate

MAASTRICHT. The conflict between a PhD candidate and Maastricht University has been solved, to the extent that the researcher, after mediation by professor Harald Merckelbach, can return to work. Her contract will be extended until May 2021, a year longer than was planned. This will enable her to compensate for the ‘lost’ months (after her former supervisor denied her access to the lab in February 2019). In addition, two new UM supervisors have been found.

Rector: Dismissing non-functioning leaders must become easier

Rector: Dismissing non-functioning leaders must become easier

MAASTRICHT. More must be done to train and support leaders in the academic community and it must become easier to remove non-functioning leaders from leadership positions. Rector Rianne Letschert argued this in her welcome speech to the 44th Dies Natalis last Friday. She also proposed to remove the distinction between academic staff and support staff.

Maastricht contributes to snake venom research

Maastricht contributes to snake venom research

MAASTRICHT. It was world news last week: researchers from the Hubrecht Institute have cultivated a mini venom gland that can actually produce snake venom. The University of Maastricht also contributed: Peter Peters, professor of nanobiology, and Carmen López Iglesias, associate professor of cell biology, made microscopic images of the cells of organoids (specially cultivated mini-organs) and saw structures resembling the vesicles with venom in real venom glands.

Update UM: don't travel to Chinese province of Hubei

Update UM: don't travel to Chinese province of Hubei

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University advises its students and staff not to travel to the Chinese province of Hubei, with Wuhan as epicentre of the outbreak of the corona virus.

Research fraud case UM-professor reopened

Research fraud case UM-professor reopened

MAASTRICHT. The cardiology professor who was claimed to have committed fraud is to receive a fourth opportunity, outside the regular procedure, to defend herself. The request was made by the Executive Board. The Commission for Scientific Integrity had already completed its advice.

“We talk too much ‘about’ instead of ‘with’ people”

“We talk too much ‘about’ instead of ‘with’ people”

MAASTRICHT. No driving a car without a driver’s licence. No tutoring a group without a basic teaching qualification (Basis Kwalificatie Onderwijs, BKO). But until now, taking on the role of a leader at Maastricht University was possible without having done any course or training. That is about to change. The UM has recently started offering a number of leadership courses. And that is not all.

“Good hope” that neither scientific data nor personal information has been stolen

MAASTRICHT. Was or is scientific data in danger as a result of the cyberattack on 23 December? It appears that this was not the case. What about the privacy of students and staff? If personal information has been hacked, that would be a risk. But the UM’s management is optimistic.

The Netherlands is well prepared for the coronavirus, health official says

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands must take into account the fact that some people may become ill with the coronavirus, given it has now been identified in Europe, a senior Dutch public health official has told the Telegraaf.

Cyberattack started back in October; Utrecht was secured

MAASTRICHT. The cyberattack on Maastricht University may have only erupted to its full extent on 23 December 2019, the first breach took place more than two months before. This was reported by well-informed sources. Fons Elbersen, interim spokesman for Maastricht University, does not want to comment. “We will give answers to such questions on 5 February, during a special meeting.”

UPDATE PhD candidate remains banned from the lab

UPDATE PhD candidate remains banned from the lab

MAASTRICHT. A PhD candidate from Maastricht research institute Carim who was denied access to the laboratory, will not have her keys returned to her. This was the conclusion of the judge last Tuesday. With this, the court has decided in favour of Maastricht University. The PhD candidate doesn’t need to be there, because she has no supervisor.

One million euro a year extra for FSE

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has officially received access to the experiments with CERN’s particle accelerator, the European organisation for nuclear research. There, to the west of Geneva, Maastricht researchers can now carry out extensive research.

FPN wants to spend the money for educational improvements differently

MAASTRICHT. The agreement made by students in the University Council and the Executive Board last year was for more intensive contact hours for all first- and second-year students. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences now thinks that they can spend the money in a better way.

When things are not easily put into words

When things are not easily put into words

MAASTRICHT. Written articles may be the most common scholarly medium, but why are alternatives like film so undervalued? Filmmaker and cultural historian Paul Craddock gives talks at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and will be running a workshop at the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life sciences on how to include film in academia.

UM Medical bachelor’s students invited to renowned UK congress

MAASTRICHT. A group of ten honours students from the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences (FHML) was selected to hold a poster presentation at the renowned British Society for Immunology Congress. And no, that is not common. Normally, only researchers – not seldomly from Harvard, Oxford and Berkeley – are given that privilege.

Inkom theme: Enter the unknown

The theme of Inkom 2020 was announced by the Inkom Working Group during a constitution event on Friday. This year, ‘Enter the unknown’ has been chosen. “We see Inkom as something comparable to diving in at the deep end,” says ...

University academics campaign against structural, unpaid overtime

THE NETHERLANDS. A number of campaigning academics are reporting their universities and colleges to government inspectors for failing to take crack down on structural unpaid overtime.

Parliamentary debate on UM cyberattack

MAASTRICHT. ​There is soon to be a parliamentary debate on the cyberattack that hit Maastricht University just before Christmas. The exact date is not yet known. On 5 February, the UM itself will “reveal all” during a public meeting in Maastricht. The hack will be subject of discussion during a private meeting of the University Council today, Wednesday 15 January.

YUFE information session: “How is a YUFE student different from an exchange student?”

YUFE information session: “How is a YUFE student different from an exchange student?”

MAASTRICHT. Two courses in Maastricht, four in Finland, one in Madrid, and then three more in Cyprus. As of coming September, this might actually be a study year of a Maastricht University (UM) student. Last Monday morning, students and staff gathered for the first time in the Saint Jan’s Church on the Vrijthof for an information session about YUFE (Young Universities for the Future of Europe).

"The question about the ransom will also be answered then”

MAASTRICHT. On 5 February (rather than 6 February, as was initially stated by the Executive Board), Maastricht University will “reveal all” about the cyberattack. During a public meeting, the UM intends to present its findings concerning the ongoing investigation into the hack, and provide answers to (almost) all the questions. That includes the question as to whether a ransom was paid and if so, how much.

Participation councils and student boards more accessible to international students

THE NETHERLANDS. As of this year, it will be much easier for international students to join a participation council or sit on the board of a student association. Internationalisation organisation Nuffic and the Dutch National Student Association (ISO) are pleased with the news.

 Executive Board withdraws proposal for dean appointment procedure, University Council conflict solved

Executive Board withdraws proposal for dean appointment procedure, University Council conflict solved

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board has withdrawn the proposal for a new procedure for the appointment of faculty deans (the highest position in a faculty). In doing so, the conflict with the University Council, which arose at the end of September, has ended. It also means that in the future there will be only one member of the Executive Board on the Appointments Advisory Committee (benoemingsadviescommissie, BAC), and that recruitment for a suitable candidate will first take place internally. 

Maastricht professor of Cardiology accused of academic fraud

Maastricht professor of Cardiology accused of academic fraud

MAASTRICHT. A Maastricht professor of Cardiology is accused of academic fraud by her former PhD candidate. She is alleged to have falsified data and to have doctored pictures to make them look better in subsidy applications. The case is currently with Maastricht University’s Committee for Scientific Integrity. At the same time, the PhD candidate is taking the university to court because of a labour conflict. The case was heard in Roermond last Tuesday. Her promotor had denied her access to the laboratory by confiscating her keys. This meant that she had to stop her experiments.

Eliminating the effects of the cyberattack could take weeks

MAASTRICHT. It could take weeks before all the effects of the cyberattack have been eliminated. But last Monday, education programmes started up again with hardly any problems. On Tuesday, the e-mail system was back online again and the network disks that are so important to researchers, were fully accessible. Sister universities are meanwhile taking additional measures.

“The UM is solid as a rock in times of crisis”

“The UM is solid as a rock in times of crisis”

MAASTRICHT. If there is anything we have seen during this recent cyberattack, said President Martin Paul last Monday at a well-attended New Year’s reception in the Bonnefantenmuseum, it is the community spirit within this university. Some staff...

“Colleagues here at DKE said: “If everything is up and running again within a month, they will have paid”

“Colleagues here at DKE said: “If everything is up and running again within a month, they will have paid”

MAASTRICHT. To everyone’s relief, the e-mail system could be used this Tuesday. But on the first Monday of 2020, that wasn’t possible yet. How did that day go? And what do students and staff think about paying ransom money?

Monday 6 January and e-mail system still not up and running

MAASTRICHT. Monday, 6 January 2020, the first day back after the Christmas holidays, staff and students still cannot use the UM’s e-mail system. There is no access to the Internet and the data files on network disks either. It may take a few more days before all of this is up and running again, the UM announced in Update #12.

Update: Wi-Fi restored; computers allowed to be switched on

Update: Wi-Fi restored; computers allowed to be switched on

MAASTRICHT. Just over a week after the cyberattack targeted at Maastricht University, more and more systems are working again. A (partially) operational Wi-Fi network has been added to the (partially) accessible student portal and Blackboard/Eleum. Students and staff can also use their computers or devices again.

Cyberhack: Maastricht University pays ransom

Cyberhack: Maastricht University pays ransom

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University, which was hit by a cyberattack just before Christmas, paid the ‘ransom’ to the hackers. In doing so, the key was obtained to make systems accessible again. This was reported by well-informed sources at the UM. No official statements are being given.

Education programmes resume on 6 January, resits will also take place as planned

Education programmes resume on 6 January, resits will also take place as planned

MAASTRICHT. The consequences of the cyber-attack on Maastricht University have been solved to such a degree that education programmes can be resumed on 6 January 2020 as planned. The UM has stated this in a new update on its website. Resits that have been scheduled, will also take place in that week because a number of IT systems necessary for education and students will be back online on 2 January. This includes the UM Student Portal, Blackboard, Eleum and the system that provides access to the study timetables.

UM wants to set up ‘help lines’ for students and staff

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University buildings will open on Thursday 2 January, no matter what, so even if the consequences of the cyber-attack have not yet been solved by then. Furthermore, ‘help lines’ (on faculty, central and service centre level) will be set up for students and staff who have questions.

More than 250 concerned students and staff e-mail the UM

MAASTRICHT. About 250 employees and students have contacted the university after the cyber-attack on the night of 23 December, using the special e-mail address info@m-u.nl set up for this purpose. The primary questions for them include: Which systems have been affected? How long will all this take? What about my data? Are my exam results safe?

UM has been in contact with cybercriminals

UM has been in contact with cybercriminals

MAASTRICHT. During the night of 23-24 December, Maastricht University was hit by Clop ransomware. About twenty-five people are working every day in two shifts to determine the extent of the cyberattack. It’s unclear how long this will take, says Fons Elbersen, UM’s new temporary spokesperson.

Cyber-attack on Maastricht University

MAASTRICHT. On the night of 23 December, Maastricht University fell victim to a serious cyber-attack with the so-called Clop virus (ransomware). This made access to a lot of scientific data impossible. The e-mail system is down too, and the Student Portal and the library are offline. Exactly how this happened is now being investigated, says spokesman Gert van Doorn.

Student services bureau Jules bankrupt

Student services bureau Jules bankrupt

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht court of law declared student services bureau Jules bankrupt on Tuesday 17 December. Jules, set up more than ten years ago by Karin van der Ven, a Maastricht University alumna, mainly supported foreign students with services such as language courses, a removal service, and help with questions about insurance and tax. The management of student accommodation was later added. For the latter, the bureau was discredited on several occasions.

Internationalisation: figures, pros and cons

Internationalisation: figures, pros and cons

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch Education Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven wants to prevent an excessive influx of the number of international students. Today she defends her plans in the Dutch House of Representatives. Ahead of this debate, here are some facts and opinions to put things in perspective.

“We show great solidarity with our fence”

“We show great solidarity with our fence”

“We are very committed towards the EU, but we don't want immigrants. That is an issue that is non-negotiable,” says Hungarian ambassador András Kocsis in the Statenzaal of the Law faculty. Last Saturday, he engaged in a debate with fo...

Dutch to ban the sale of laughing gas for recreational use

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch government is planning to ban the sale of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, for recreational use.
 

Little change in poverty rate – nearly 8% of Dutch households are poor

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of low income households in the Netherlands remained unchanged up to the end of 2018 but may have gone down this year, the national statistics agency CBS said on Monday.

What should an influencer do and not do?

What should an influencer do and not do?

MAASTRICHT. Is a vlogger allowed to advertise a product in a video diary and not state that it is advertising? Is it all right for a YouTuber with a lot of underage followers to promote energy drinks? Influencers have become an established part of the online media landscape, but for legislators it is still a very new phenomenon. The Maastricht ‘Influencer Law Clinic’ wants to create clarity, both for the influencers and for consumers.

New offensive against PhD ‘student’ status

THE NETHERLANDS. PhD students at the University of Groningen have written a manifesto: they want to be employees rather than students and have started a petition.

Piglet research UM discontinued

Piglet research UM discontinued

MAASTRICHT. The forensic piglet research by a Maastricht PhD candidate in a pond in North Holland, will be discontinued. The Twiske-Waterland recreation organisation has decided to terminate the project because it doesn’t fit to their goals.

No hearings in English for now

MAASTRICHT. For the time being, Dutch will continue to be spoken during hearings held by the Complaints Committee for Inappropriate Behaviour at Maastricht University. Foreign members of staff who do not speak the language, will have to hire an interpreter themselves. As this concerns an ‘umbrella regulation’ in which three institutes – UM, Zuyd Hogeschool and Open Universiteit – are involved, the UM’s Executive Board says it cannot easily adapt the procedure.

Student clubs ‘given 75% discounts’ to encourage heavy drinking

THE NETHERLANDS. Students’ associations are continuing to sign up to deals with breweries that reward heavy drinking by their members despite pledging to change the ‘alcohol culture’ at universities.

Late delivery tops list of online shoppers’ complaints: CBS

THE NETHERLANDS. One in two people who have bought something online in the past year have complaints about the service, with late delivery topping the list of consumer bugbears, according to a new survey by national statistics agency CBS.

Good NSE score does not necessarily mean a good Keuzegids score

Good NSE score does not necessarily mean a good Keuzegids score

MAASTRICHT. The UM is the most international university; European Law School - with almost 84 per cent foreign students - is the most international study programme. But when it comes to quality, Law School is dangling at the bottom in the Keuzegids Universiteiten 2020. The results of the National Student Survey (Nationale Studenten Enquête, NSE), however, tell a different story.

University Council student members saddled with extra work

MAASTRICHT. Student members of the University Council often have to do an extra study assignment, because they miss out on part of the education programme due to their council or committee duties. During a University Council meeting last Wednesday, they asked rector Rianne Letschert whether a solution could be found for this. The rector promised to take a closer look at the problem.

Defence minister ‘probably’ told Mark Rutte about Iraq bombing casualities

THE NETHERLANDS. Former defence minister Jeanine Hennis did verbally inform then-foreign minister Bert Koenders in 2015 about possible civilian casualties due to a Dutch bombing raid in Iraq and ‘probably’ told prime minister Mark Rutte, current defence minister Ank Bijleveld has told MPs.

FMO accused of funding human rights abuses on palm oil plantations

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch development bank FMO is one of four European lenders accused of financing human rights abuses in the palm oil sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Europahave office building to become student housing too

Europahave office building to become student housing too

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht City Council expects that by next year there will be sufficient accommodation for students. On top of the annual maximum of 120 rooms or studios in the private sector, there will be another 252 prefabricated apartments in Randwyck, as well as - recently announced - 127 flats in the former office building Europahave in Heer. With this, the city is exceeding the required number of 485.

UM wants to pay more attention to the home front

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University is the first in the Netherlands to have obtained a ‘family-friendly university’ certificate. The UM wants to take the home situation of its employees and students more into account.

UM budget: uncertain future because of Van Rijn committee

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University will end up in the red in 2020, but there is no need to panic. The six million shortage - coming from the reserves - is meant for investments already planned for new bachelor’s and master’s programmes, IT upgrades and housing.

Salary survey shows women do earn less than men, even for equal work

THE NETHERLANDS. Working part time does increase the wage gap between men and women, costing women both money and promotion, according to annual research by Intermediair magazine and Nyenrode University.

Academic career: teaching and impact to carry more weight

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. For a career in science you will no longer need to solely focus yourself on research. Knowledge institutes and science funders feel that being a good teacher and doing useful research are also very important.

Numbers of students with mental health problems not on the rise

Anyone who reads a newspaper almost always come to the same conclusion: life is tough for students. They have to deal with stress, anxiety disorders and symptoms of burn-out. And with the increased pressure to achieve and the abolition of the basic s...

No more sponsored medical students from the Middle East

MAASTRICHT. The special grant programmes for students from the Middle East who come to study Medicine in Maastricht, have been discontinued. The Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) has pulled the plug: too much hassle with the governments that provide the grants and subsequently want to set all kinds of requirements for the programme.

Two new UM study programmes touch a sore spot for UoTs

Two new UM study programmes touch a sore spot for UoTs

MAASTRICHT. The Eindhoven, Delft,Twente and Wageningen Universities of Technology (UoT) have protested against the new Maastricht bachelor's programme of Circular Engineering and the master's programme of Molecular Imaging and Engineering. The minister has nevertheless approved the study programmes. They will start in 2020 or 2021.

Kaleido gets permanent home at Tapijn

Kaleido gets permanent home at Tapijn

MAASTRICHT. At last, student club Kaleido has found a permanent location: Tapijn, building Z. It’s the current residence of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE). The latter will soon move to the Paul Henri Spaaklaan in Randwyck.

Brexit: British students warned to tread carefully with illegal room rental

THE NETHERLANDS. British citizens studying in the Netherlands should be sure they are registered in their local municipality if and when the United Kingdom actually leaves the European Union. Failure to do so could mean being faced with all kinds of problems.

Zwarte Piet protest group accuses police of failing to protect safety

THE NETHERLANDS. Protest group Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) has accused police of failing to protect its members’ safety after a weekend in which four people were arrested for violently breaking up a meeting.

Complaint foreign PhD candidate, hearing in Dutch

Complaint foreign PhD candidate, hearing in Dutch

MAASTRICHT. A foreign PhD candidate who submitted a complaint about her supervisor to Maastricht University's ‘Complaints committee for Inappropriate Behaviour’, is invited for a hearing in Dutch. This to her amazement, a language she barely understands, let alone be able to express herself in adequately. An interpreter is permitted to join in, but she has to arrange that herself. 

Underwater piglet experiment creates a fuss

Underwater piglet experiment creates a fuss

MAASTRICHT. Dutch YouTuber Emile Beuker recently posted a short film on his video channel Finding stuff. It showed piglets that he had discovered during a dive in the Stootersplas in North Holland. Dead piglets in cages under water. What appeared to be the case? Forensic research is being carried out by Maastricht University. Social media were swamped with threats directed at the scientist.

Work-to-rule action: “Thanks for your email, but it will have to wait”

THE NETHERLANDS. In November, activist scientists will be sending automated replies to emails they receive stating they are too busy to send quick replies.

Primary teachers’ strike on November 6 to go ahead after unions change tack

THE NETHERLANDS. A strike by primary school teachers on November 6 appears to be back on after unions reversed their decision to call it off.

Conflict between University Council and Executive Board

Conflict between University Council and Executive Board

MAASTRICHT. A conflict has arisen between the University Council and the Executive Board. The controversial issue is the new procedure for the appointment of deans, which states that from now on, the entire Executive Board will sit on the Appointments Advisory Committee for the appointment of deans. Until now, only the rector was a member of the committee, and the University Council would like to keep it that way. The conflict – a dispute, in legal terms – now lies with the Supervisory Board.

From speaking about race to networking for women

MAASRICHT. An empowerment workshop for people of colour, female academics who learn to present themselves and their research better, and an app that students can use to report sexual violence. These are a few examples of what has been done with the UM Diversity and Inclusivity (D&I) Grants. The project leaders presented their results at a meeting in the Bonnefanten Museum on Monday. In the meantime, the grants for 2019 have been distributed too.

Hardly complaints to confidential advisor

Hardly complaints to confidential advisor

MAASTRICHT. In particular foreigners submitted complaints to the confidential adviser for students in 2018. Most of the complaints concerned discrimination and sexual intimidation. A total of 46 students contacted the adviser.

Ministers aim to relax PFAS pollution rules after new limit halts earth-moving work

THE NETHERLANDS. Ministers have asked public health institute RIVM to look into relaxing the limits on how much of the chemical compound PFAS should be allowed in sludge and soil which is dumped on farm and landfill sites during dredging and earth-moving work.
 

Poker players and businessmen – the biggest political party donors

THE NETHERLANDS. The biggest individual donation to a political party last year was €166,000 left to the left-wing green party GroenLinks in the will of psychotherapist Joop Valstar, current affairs show Nieuwsuur said, on the basis of an analysis of party annual accounts.

Science Programme tuition fees to rise substantially

Science Programme tuition fees to rise substantially

MAASTRICHT. The tuition fee for the Maastricht Science Programme (MSP) is going to increase considerably. From the next academic year, it will go from 2,143 euro (the statutory amount) to 3,545 euro per year.

Positive response to digital exams, despite teething problems

Positive response to digital exams, despite teething problems

MAASTRICHT. A loud “YESSS!!!!” sounds at the main entrance of the MECC on Tuesday morning. Second-year students of International Business Thom Metselaar and Tim Schmid have passed their computer exam ‘Management of Organizations’. They have just pressed Enter for the last time, but the answers are already online.

Associate Professors can also be promotors

Associate Professors can also be promotors

MAASTRICHT. From January 2020, all Maastricht Associate Professors who have obtained a doctorate degree will receive the ius promovendi: the right to act as a PhD thesis supervisor. Until this year, this was restricted to professors or, in exceptional case, those who had obtained a PhD and had permission from the Board of Deans.

Not the rector, but the entire Appointments Advisory Committee selects dean application letters

MAASTRICHT. It is no longer the rector who will carry out the initial selection of job application letters for the appointment of deans. Such letters will again be submitted to the Appointments Advisory Committee as a whole.

Street wardens to get pepper spray and batons to defend themselves

THE NETHERLANDS. The justice minister plans to allow street wardens – civil servants who carry out a variety of duties for local authorities – to have weapons such as pepper spray and batons, the Volkskrant said on Monday.

UM Sports should be more diverse

UM Sports should be more diverse

​MAASTRICHT. In the areas of diversity and inclusivity – two of Maastricht University's focal areas – some work is still needed at the university sports centre in Maastricht. Especially diversity requires attention, according to the outcome of the first phase of the UM study ‘UM Sports for Every Body’.

Saurus again the fastest grower

Saurus again the fastest grower

MAASTRICHT. For three years in a row, Saurus has been the fastest growing of the four large Maastricht student associations. They have registered 175 new members this year, 59 of whom are international students. Enthusiasm for Circumflex has seen a lift and Tragos has also seen a slight increase. Koko is the only one experiencing a decline.

FPN forced to make cuts of 3.1 million over 5 years

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences needs to cut costs to the amount of 3.1 million over the next five years. Jobs are not at risk; the faculty will take a critical look at all other expenses. Some of that money (about 1 million) will become available automatically: over the next few years, some older (and hence more expensive) employees are going to retire.

Substantial increase of first-years

Substantial increase of first-years

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University registered almost 9 per cent more first-year students than last year: 8,177 students. In particular the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has seen a lift because of its new bachelor's programme of Digital Society.

Hardware stolen from UNS 60

Hardware stolen from UNS 60

MAASTRICHT. During a burglary, last week, in two of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences' offices on the Universiteitssingel 60, hardware from eight computers (processors, RAM, and hard disks) were taken. The crime was reported to the police. According to Ineke Wolfhagen, assistant director of the education institute, no privacy-sensitive or confidential information has disappeared.

“Let yourself get involved in their lives, rather than engaging them in your research”

“Let yourself get involved in their lives, rather than engaging them in your research”

MAASTRICHT. Helping researchers who want to do community-engaged research and showcase what is already happening at Maastricht University. That is the aim of the Maastricht Platform for Community-Engaged Research (MPCER). During the launch event at Lumière last Thursday, the pitfalls and challenges of this kind of research were discussed.

Piecemeal firework bans will not solve New Year problems, police chief says

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch national police chief Erik Akerboom has written to MPs warning of major problems with the introduction of local New Year firework bans – as several cities are bringing in.

Climate activists arrested for blocking road near Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam

THE NETHERLANDS. Police have begun removing environmental protesters from outside the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam after they ignored warnings not to block the road.

Waiting times for student psychologists have risen drastically

Waiting times for student psychologists have risen drastically

MAASTRICHT. ‘Waiting times for student psychologists have dropped drastically,’ Observant reported two weeks ago. One of the reasons was the introduction of groups sessions, focussing on prevention. But now it appears that waiting times have suddenly risen again substantially.

Research master's of Health Sciences to stop in 2020

MAASTRICHT. The Health Sciences Research Master (HSRM) will be discontinued with effect from September 2020. The University Council approved the request for discontinuance last week. The master's didn't attract enough students to be cost-effective. The current students will be able to complete the two-year programme.

New University Council chairperson left a visiting card

New University Council chairperson left a visiting card

MAASTRICHT. The first plenary session of the new University Council and its newly appointed chairperson, Amanda Kluveld, immediately caused fireworks. At the request of the Council, she put the new procedure for the appointing of deans as an additional item on the agenda. The Executive Board wanted to prevent this, but Kluveld stuck to her guns.

Putting the brakes on English in higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. Minister of Education Ingrid van Engelshoven has announced plans to introduce more stringent language policies for Dutch higher education. This could mean that a number of programmes currently being taught in English will have to switch back to Dutch. But how likely is that to actually happen?

Successful Career Woman Rianne Letschert: maybe female professor quota in 2020

Successful Career Woman Rianne Letschert: maybe female professor quota in 2020

MAASTRICHT. Long articles in newspapers such as Het Financieele Dagbladde LimburgerEindhovens Dagblad, an appearance on the TV show Jinek and numerous reports in other media. Only those who were completely shut off from the world could have missed it this week: rector Rianne Letschert won the Successful Career Woman of the Year 2019 award on Thursday evening, 26 September. A jury led by former minister Jet Bussemaker praised her "combination of authentic leadership and academic depth".

Traffic chaos as farmers drive their tractors to The Hague protest

THE NETHERLANDS. There were record traffic jams on the Dutch roads on Tuesday as thousands of farmers headed for The Hague to take part in a mass demonstration, hundreds of whom are travelling by tractor.

New in Maastricht: spikeball

New in Maastricht: spikeball

MAASTRICHT. What started as a Christmas gift has grown into the latest student sports club in Maastricht: spikeball club Cactus Maastricht.

Executive Board reinforces its grip on dean appointments

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board will get a much bigger hand in the appointment of new deans. All three members will from now be part of the Appointments Advisory Committee. This is one of the aspects of the new procedure for the (re)appointment of deans, recently decided upon by the Executive Board.

Of course foreign students should learn Dutch, says OECD

THE NETHERLANDS. Great education is more than the right combination of quality and equity, say two researchers from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Language and culture also matter.

Municipality has no idea how many students have or have not registered

Municipality has no idea how many students have or have not registered

MAASTRICHT. It is unclear how much income the city of Maastricht loses out on every year because students fail to register as residents. Municipalities receive a sum of money from central government from the Municipality Fund, based on various criteria, such as the number of inhabitants. The city council actually has no idea how many students have or have not registered in their administration. This is laid down in the Wet Basisregistratie Personen (Basic Persons Registration Act) and that does not include registration whether someone is a student or not.

King's Day in Maastricht

King's Day in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. No European Song Contest in Maastricht next year - that will be celebrated in Rotterdam – but we will have the celebrations for King Willem-Alexander’s birthday together with his family. On King’s day, 27 April 2020, the...

Rain songs and orgasms

Rain songs and orgasms

Arabian sounds come from the living room of the student pastoral care centre The InnBetween. The place is lit by candles. Some fifty visitors are sitting on the floor with a cup of tea near the stage or on one of the folding chairs, listening to the ...

British nationals in NL dismayed by dual nationality change of plan

THE NETHERLANDS. British nationals in the Netherlands have reacted with dismay to the decision to drop them from draft legislation allowing people caught up in the Brexit chaos to have both Dutch and British nationality.

The student loan system stays – but more money to tackle teacher shortage

The student loan system stays – but more money to tackle teacher shortage

NETHERLANDS. Prime Minister Mark Rutte was clear: the government was not going to start tampering with the student loan system. There might, however, be some money left over to tackle the teacher shortage.

More exercise could lead to poor achievement at school

More exercise could lead to poor achievement at school

MAASTRICHT. Encouraging children at primary school to exercise more could result in poorer school performance. The cause of this is probably an increase of restlessness in the classroom. This is one of the outcomes of a study carried out by Maastricht University and Fontys Hogescholen.

Extra cutbacks: “damaging” and “an obstruction”

Extra cutbacks: “damaging” and “an obstruction”

MAASTRICHT/NETHERLANDS. On the day of the King’s speech, last Tuesday, the cabinet presented its budget for next year. Higher education is in for a bad time, with another round of cutbacks. This is on top of the disastrous plans recommended by the Van Rijn committee, which wants money to be transferred from general universities to technical universities.

Group sessions reduce waiting time for student psychologist

Group sessions reduce waiting time for student psychologist

MAASTRICHT. Waiting times for an appointment with a student psychologist have been reduced considerably compared to this time last year. Students then had to wait three weeks, which is now three working days. Mieke Janssen, team leader for the UM psychologists and student psychologist Liesbeth Mouha reported this last week during a University Council committee meeting.

Extra cutbacks: “damaging” and “an obstruction”

Extra cutbacks: “damaging” and “an obstruction”

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. On the day of the King’s speech, last Tuesday, the cabinet presented its budget for next year. Higher education is in for a bad time, with another round of cutbacks. This is on top of the disastrous plans recommended by the Van Rijn committee, which wants money to be transferred from general universities to technical universities.

Prefab student accommodation in Randwyck

Prefab student accommodation in Randwyck

MAASTRICHT. Over the next two years, 126 student homes will be built in Randwyck. Not discarded sea containers, but brand-new double apartments. About half of these will have to be completed on the grounds of the former sports hall by August. The rest will follow the year after that.

Few homes for international students

THE NETHERLANDS. With an estimated shortfall in the Netherlands of 31,000 rooms, many students still don’t know where they’re sleeping this semester. Deborah Nicholls-Lee reports on why international students are among the worst affected by the student housing crisis.

Budget leaks: Dutch economy is robust but growth is leveling off

THE NETHERLANDS. Everyone in the Netherlands will be better off next year, and the coalition government expects 2020 will be the seventh in a row in which the economy grows, according to leaked budget documents published by RTL Nieuws at the weekend.

Why isn't anyone talking about the profits generated by foreign students?

THE NETHERLANDS. Amid the wide range of concerns raised about the huge influx of foreign students, one thing can be said for certain: they are a source of public revenue. Shouldn't this knowledge help put the worries to rest?

Foreign students permitted to stay longer in the United Kingdom

UNITED KINGDOM. With Brexit fast approaching, prime minister Boris Johnson is showing a willingness to accommodate international students. As far as the PM is concerned, students may stay in the United Kingdom for up to two years after graduation, allowing them the opportunity to find a job.  

Maastricht 127th in top 200

Maastricht 127th in top 200

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has risen one place in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 and is now at number 127, in front of Nijmegen, Amsterdam (VU), and Eindhoven. There are a total of eleven Dutch universities in the top 200 of best universities worldwide. The highest-ranking Dutch university is Wageningen, in 59th place, thus dethroning Delft (which dropped nine places).

Students for Climate take action against Maastricht Airport expansion

Students for Climate take action against Maastricht Airport expansion

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht student organisation Students for Climate will make every effort to prevent an expansion of Maastricht Aachen Airport (MAA).

Kaleido looking for accommodation again

Kaleido looking for accommodation again

MAASTRICHT. International student club Kaleido won't be moving to Kleine Gracht 41 after all. Before the summer, there were rumours that this would be their new ‘living room’ from which a “community could be built”. That i...

Green light for new animal-testing centre

Green light for new animal-testing centre

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has been given the green light for the new animal-testing centre. No objections have been lodged against the permit application, said the spokesperson for the Maastricht city council in response to questions. Apart from that, there is a letter from Animal Rights to the Executive Board with the request to stop animal testing and not to start building.

Foreign students may face higher fees, be offered Dutch language lessons

THE NETHERLANDS. Foreign students in the Netherlands will be offered help in learning Dutch, and students from outside the EU may face higher fees, if new proposals on dealing with the internationalisation of the Dutch higher education system come into force.

Foreign students are an asset to the Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS. Foreign students generate substantial revenues for the Dutch treasury, especially university students from outside Europe. However, the scale of this influx may pose a risk to the quality of education.

“The great thing about such a large amount is that we can do both experimental and clinical research”

MAASTRICHT. A consortium led by Professor Anita Jansen, dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences, has received almost twenty million euro through the Gravitation Programme. This makes it one of the larger subsidies that Maastricht University has ever received. The money will be used to further develop and research a new model for psychiatric disorders. For Jansen this means that she will step down as dean. “I have to, they are both full-time jobs.”

Worries about budget shifts and limits on internationalisation

Worries about budget shifts and limits on internationalisation

MAASTRICHT. He is worried, said Maastricht University president Martin Paul, not only in his speech during the opening ceremony of the academic year, but again during the closing session. About the budget shifts that the 'Van Rijn committee' has in mind – more money for sciences at the expense of languages, humanities and the arts – and about the persisting rumours that the government wants to curtail the internationalisation activities of universities. ‘Dark clouds’, he called them. In Leiden, rector Carel Stolker lashed out even more harshly.

“You have to ask yourself with every item on the agenda: why could this not be public?”

“You have to ask yourself with every item on the agenda: why could this not be public?”

MAASTRICHT. For two whole years, Dr Amanda Kluveld was chairperson of the Faculty Council at Arts and Social Sciences. As of 1 September, the Maastricht historian is the new chairperson of the University Council. She is an advocate of transparency and likes to give council members their space.

New Community-Engaged Research platform

MAASTRICHT. During the opening of the academic year, children's rights researcher Marieke Hopman announced the introduction of a new platform: the Maastricht Platform for Community-Engaged Research. According to Hopman, who herself carried out re...

The first batch will be “spoilt rotten”

The first batch will be “spoilt rotten”

MAASTRICHT. Two guinea pigs appear on the screen in the Gymnasium. “You are now our guinea pigs, or as we say in Dutch proefkonijnen‚” says Sally Wyatt, programme director of the new bachelor's programme of Digital Society at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “Sometimes, guinea pigs have a hard time and they die.” There is a burst of laughter in the hall. “But we are not going to let that happen to you,” Wyatt grins. On the contrary, dean Sophie Vanhoonacker stated only ten minutes before. “You are our first batch and we will spoil you rotten.”

Students: “Bring science to prisons”

Students: “Bring science to prisons”

MAASTRICHT. Proposition: It is worth investing billions in the Einstein Telescope. A sea of green cards with ‘Yes’ shoots up, among them two red cards stating ‘No’. It is Monday, 2 September; the morning programme of the Opening of the Academic Year is at full blast. The theme is: ‘Who cares about society?’ or how do we bring science to the attention of a broad public.

Labour party does u-turn, says student grants should be brought back

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch Labour party has done a u-turn and is now calling for the return of student grants, which were abolished under a Labour minister in 2015.
 

Leiden ‘host’ lashes out at minister

THE NETHERLANDS. Carel Stolker, rector magnificus of Leiden University, believes the relationship between our politicians and our universities is at a low point. He has directed some harsh words towards Minister of Education Van Engelshoven, who he will be receiving as a guest at the university later today.

Judge ruled against Law dean

Judge ruled against Law dean

MAASTRICHT. The dean of the Maastricht Faculty of Law, who suspended five law students last spring because of racist and anti-Semitic remarks in a WhatsApp group, found himself ruled against by the Appeals Tribunal for Higher Education. He should have first given a warning. With this, the Executive Board that supported him were also given a rap over the knuckles.

Student housing market to remain out of balance

Student housing market to remain out of balance

NETHERLANDS. Student cities with severe student housing shortages are planning major construction projects over the next six years. Nevertheless, researchers expect that only half will succeed in restoring balance to their overheated local student housing markets by 2026. In Maastricht there seem no problems.

Less stress of choice at PAS festival

Less stress of choice at PAS festival

MAASTRICHT. A skating track on the Oud-Gouvernement parking lot, about forty UM scientists talk about their recent research, the smallest disco in the world, street theatre by Petit Monsieur. The programme for the sixth edition of the PAS (Pleasure, Art and Science) Festival on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 September is complete.

Fuss about a student house roof terrace in Wyck continues

Fuss about a student house roof terrace in Wyck continues

MAASTRICHT. A student accommodation building on the Spoorweglaan in Wyck has received a permit for a roof terrace for the second time. The court previously ruled in favour of the complaining neighbour.

YUFE, Veni's and the Einstein telescope

YUFE, Veni's and the Einstein telescope

Five million for YUFE University alliance YUFE (Young Universities for the Future of Europe), which is led by UM Executive President Martin Paul, is to receive five million euro from the European Commission to set up a ‘European University&r...

Fraud in UM spin-off VitaK

Fraud in UM spin-off VitaK

MAASTRICHT. Two Maastricht University researchers, professor Leon Schurgers and professor Cees Vermeer (the latter has by now retired) have apparently enriched themselves through the university subsidiary company VitaK. De Limburger and De Groene Amsterdammer in collaboration with the Investico platform reported elaborately on this news at the end of June. André Postema, former vice president of Maastricht University, is supposed to have known of the fraud. As a result of the publication, the present Executive Board is carrying out a fact-finding investigation.

High School Summer College: a week of student life experience

High School Summer College: a week of student life experience

MAASTRICHT. What's it like to be a student? More than forty pupils - averaging 17 years of age - from around the whole world attended the High School Summer College in Maastricht in the middle of August. Living in the Guesthouse for a whole week, taking lectures in the mornings and after that tutorials or a visit to the lab. The evening programme consisted of a film, a tour of the caves or having a meal together.

Master's student creates music from study material

Master's student creates music from study material

MAASTRICHT. “Hello! Psychology?” “Yes” “Wonderful” All new Psychology students are greeted with the same enthusiasm when they arrive at the Universiteitssingel 40 for the faculty introduction on Monday morning. The opening lecture won't start until 9:15 hrs, but at 8:00 hrs the first students are already at the door. Dropped off by mum and dad, loaded down with large overnight bags, or arriving alone by bicycle, searching, looking around.

Exploring the museum in the golden evening sunlight

Exploring the museum in the golden evening sunlight

Cheers come from a room in the Bonnefanten Museum. A group of freshmen has just successfully completed the Euroscoop film quiz. They continue to explore the museum where there are other activities and performances to be found and the exhibition of An...

Inkom participants’ number increases to 3100

Inkom participants’ number increases to 3100

MAASTRICHT. For the third year in a row, the Inkom is sold out. The introduction week of Maastricht has attracted 3100 students this year, a hundred more than in 2018. The event has been slowly growing; in 2017 the maximum number of participants was 2900.

Coverband Inkom opening predicts future

Coverband Inkom opening predicts future

“Nobody said it was easy”, people are singing at the Markt. Coverband The Hottub Heroes is playing Coldplay’s song The scientist this Monday evening. An applicable song for the opening of the Inkom: the beginning of a career in...

Inkom Monday: serenades, sumo wrestling and birth control

Inkom Monday: serenades, sumo wrestling and birth control

It is about two o’clock on Inkom Monday. The registration has begun at ten, but there still is a cue from the registration desk at the School of Business and Economics up until far into the Bonnefantenstraat. It is hot in the sun; luckily Lipto...

Law students suspended because of “xenophobic” chats

Law students suspended because of “xenophobic” chats

MAASTRICHT. Five first-year students from European Law School have been punished for writing “racist, or rather, xenophobic” remarks in a (semi-)public WhatsApp group. According to dean Jan Smits, “proportional measures” were taken. He doesn't want to say what the measures were because of “privacy regulations” but everything points in the direction of a temporary suspension.

Concerns about survival of Mandril

Concerns about survival of Mandril

MAASTRICHT. The Mandril, a community of mainly foreign students and a breeding place for talented individuals, will have to leave the former office building of the Radium plant. The user agreement with the city of Maastricht ends in November. There is no sign of a new location for the sanctuary, the regular venue of debates, film evenings, jam sessions and workshops. The leaders have sounded the alarm.

City expects to have sufficient student rooms

City expects to have sufficient student rooms

MAASTRICHT. The city of Maastricht reckons there will be enough rooms for students. This is mainly because of the 88 additional rooms in Annadal and 257 new studios in the former Bonnefantencollege. The permit applications for another 125 temporary accommodations in a former nursing home and empty office buildings are still being dealt with.

Kaleido has its eye on a building on the Kleine Gracht

Kaleido has its eye on a building on the Kleine Gracht

MAASTRICHT. International student club Kaleido has applied for a permit for a building on Kleine Gracht 41. It could serve as a ‘living room’, a location where a “community could be built”, starting in the new academic year, s...

Eindhoven University opens academic jobs to women only

Eindhoven University opens academic jobs to women only

THE NETHERLANDS. For the next 18 months, all academic jobs at Eindhoven University of Technology will be open to female candidates only in an effort to improve the balance between men and women on the permanent staff.

Universities must be more strict about who they let in: report

THE NETHERLANDS. Universities are too much alike in the Netherlands and too many students fail at the first hurdle, independent government science and technology advisory body AWTI has said in a report on how to make higher education future proof.

Foreign students find it difficult to connect

THE NETHERLANDS. International students miss the contact with their Dutch fellow students, shows a survey by three student organisations. They also suffer from stress a lot.

City more involved in Inkom

MAASTRICHT. The city of Maastricht plays a greater role than ever before in the Inkom programme for 2019. For example, the first-year students can participate in a city walk (led by a guide from the tourist information centre), they will eat in Maastricht restaurants and during the event ‘Maastricht is Yours’ they can take part in activities in the city, such as a boat trip or guided tour of the caves.

What does the new pension agreement really mean?

THE NETHERLANDS. Agreement on reforming the Dutch pension system has been 10 years in the making, and still needs fleshing out in detail – a process which is likely to take several more years at least.

“What do you do when someone starts crying?”

“What do you do when someone starts crying?”

“I know that most of the teaching and mentor staff finds it difficult when a student confronts them with an extremely emotional story. What do you do when someone starts crying? Should you give him a hug, offer a tissue?” It’s the question that Pia Harbers, student advisor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, drops in her ten-minute talk during EDLAB’s teach-meet last Tuesday afternoon. Staff from all UM faculties and service centres discuss the issue of student well-being and how it affects them.

“I thought studying would be more relaxing than working full-time, it was the other way around”

“I thought studying would be more relaxing than working full-time, it was the other way around”

Why is it that so many young people today feel stressed, anxious, depressed and burned out? Many have tried to find an answer. The panellists and the audience at the Sphinx debate about the topic, Wednesday 29 May at Lumière, took another stab at it. Their conclusion: structural changes have to be made at Maastricht University.

University Library night-time opening not very popular

University Library night-time opening not very popular

MAASTRICHT. It's three o' clock at night. The German Moritz Brunner and the South African Saud Adam, both first-year students of International Business, are studying for their Finance exam in the lobby of The Student Hotel. For the time before and during the exam weeks, between 18 May until 10 June, this is the night-time opening facility for the University Library. Because of neighbourhood protests, the planned night-time opening was not possible at the city centre location of the University Library. They normally wouldn't study so late, but “we underestimated the course,” says Brunner as he eats a take-away. They will stay for another hour, at the most.

Dope once again big winner in the student elections

Dope once again big winner in the student elections

MAASTRICHT. Just like in all previous elections over the past four years, Dope is again the big winner. They have claimed no less than 25 of the total 47 seats and in doing so are represented in both the University Council and all faculty councils. Novum follows at a distance, with eight seats. Turnout among academic staff varied tremendously: the absolute low was at FHML, with 12.7 per cent, while at FASoS three quarters of the lecturers participated.

Education minister withdraws plan to raise interest on student loans

THE NETHERLANDS. The cabinet has abandoned plans to raise interest on student loans after opposition parties indicated the measure would be voted down in the new senate.

Government urged to bridge €873m gap in highway maintenance

THE NETHERLANDS. The government has been urged to invest more in catching up with the maintenance of bridges, tunnels and waterways or risk economically damaging closures.

Outgoing senators back climate change legislation

THE NETHERLANDS. The outgoing senate on Tuesday backed the government’s controversial plans to tackle climate change – with 62 of the 75 senators voting for the new legislation.

Outgoing senators back climate change legislation

THE NETHERLANDS. The outgoing senate on Tuesday backed the government’s controversial plans to tackle climate change – with 62 of the 75 senators voting for the new legislation.

Housing corporation agrees to keep Moluccan neighbourhood Moluccan

MAASTRICHT. A Maastricht housing corporation has agreed to keep a small neighbourhood in the southern city as a ‘Moluccan area’, following local anger over plans to rent a home to a family with a different background.

Timmermans calls for ‘progressive alliance’ as Greens and liberals make gains in EU

THE NETHERLANDS. European commissioner Frans Timmermans has called for centre-left parties to form a ‘progressive alliance’ in the European Parliament to outflank the conservative EPP group, which won the largest number of seats.

Maastricht students start European Citizens’ Initiative

MAASTRICHT. A group of Maastricht University students has started a European Citizens’ Initiative to end tax exemption for jet fuel in the EU

Students call for rethink on loan interest rates, threaten legal action

THE NETHERLANDS. Student organisations say they will take legal action against the government if it presses ahead with plans to increase the interest rate on student loans.

UM Pride launch event

UM Pride launch event

MAASTRICHT. There is a new network for LGBT+ people in Maastricht. On Thursday 23 May UM Pride will have its launch event. “We want to be a safe space for the LGBT+ community at Maastricht University for both staff and students”, says initiative taker and law student Davide Muraro. UM Pride will focus on four themes: research and academics, education and training, support and welfare, and events.

Cities queue up for chance to stage next year’s Eurovision Song Contest

THE NETHERLANDS. The final chords of Duncan Laurence’s victory-lap performance of Arcade had barely fallen silent on Sunday morning as Dutch cities began jostling for the right to stage next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

University library night-time facility in The Student Hotel

University library night-time facility in The Student Hotel

MAASTRICHT. The night-time opening facility of the university library in the upcoming XXL weeks will take place in The Student Hotel. There is room for seventy students.

Young people taking longer to find homes, jobs and families

THE NETHERLANDS. People in their twenties are taking longer to reach key milestones such as getting their first job and leaving their parents’ home, according to the statistics agency CBS.

Hundreds of organic products don’t meet the rules: RTL report

THE NETHERLANDS. Hundreds of products are being sold in Dutch shops as organic but which actually come from farms which have broken the rules on animal welfare, the use of medicines and the environment, RTL Nieuws said on Tuesday.

Harassment, scientific sabotage widespread at Dutch universities

THE NETHERLANDS. Intimidation, bullying and ‘scientific sabotage’ are common among staff at Dutch universities and colleges, according to two separate reports, both published on Monday.

On tech giants, fake news and dinosaurs

On tech giants, fake news and dinosaurs

MAASTRICHT. A social democrat appealing to vote green? This is what happened last Monday in the Vrijthof Theatre during the first, large party leader debate for the European elections on 23 May. Who will take over from President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker? Five Spitzenkandidaten entered into debate before 750 students. “It is scandalous that Europe is home to 120 million people living in poverty and 21 million unemployed.”

Valorisation paragraph to become fixed part of theses

MAASTRICHT. The valorisation paragraph – the addendum in which PhD candidates explain the social or economic value of their study – will become a fixed part of the thesis as from January 2020. 

New climate parties in university elections

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.

“The EU needs a strong leader who counters the apathy among youngsters”

“The EU needs a strong leader who counters the apathy among youngsters”

MAASTRICHT. Who will succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission? In Maastricht, on April 29, five Spitzenkandidaten will go into a debate in front of 750 students. The media, including BBC World News and the Dutch NOS, will be omnipresent. At the Vrijthof, people can follow the debate on screens.

Match project wins Stadsgoud

Match project wins Stadsgoud

MAASTRICHT. Prize: 3,500 euro for creating a meeting place on a wasteland in Pottenberg. This project by master's students Debbie Markusse and Rachita Munshi won a prize in the annual 'Stadsgoud' competition, organised by the Elisabeth St...

More people are pessimistic about the Dutch housing market

THE NETHERLANDS. More people in the Netherlands are pessimistic about the housing market, and the home owners confidence index dipped into negative figures for the first time in 4.5 years in March, according to home owners’ lobby group VEH.

More than 100 daycare centres ban non-vaccinated children

THE NETHERLANDS. More than 100 pre-school daycare centres spread all over the Netherlands say their policy is to refuse children who have not been vaccinated, according to broadcaster NOS.

Digital exams in MECC from June

Digital exams in MECC from June

MAASTRICHT. The first digital exams are planned in the MECC for June, for up to eight hundred students at a time. The first day of testing this week with 864 Chromebooks, exam software and Wi-Fi installation went well.

First phase Tapijn renovation has been started

First phase Tapijn renovation has been started

MAASTRICHT. BOOM! Last week, a cannon was used to officially kick off the large-scale renovation of the Tapijn barracks. Concerning the new Tapijn terrain, the main theme will be ‘meeting’.

Students in vacant offices and care complex

Students in vacant offices and care complex

MAASTRICHT. Three proposals for temporary (student) accommodation in Maastricht await a permit. It concerns the reallocation of vacant office buildings on the Franciscus Romanusweg 2 (31 rooms) and the Gebroeders Hermansstraat 2 (34 rooms). In the fo...

Wolves set up home in Dutch national park, opinions are divided

THE NETHERLANDS. Two female wolves have settled in the Hoge Veluwe nature reserve and a male is also thought to be roaming the area, according to woodland rangers.

Rambam tinkered with footage, apologies from BNNVARA

Rambam tinkered with footage, apologies from BNNVARA


MAASTRICHT. Two Maastricht professors were unjustly accused of ‘dishonest’ behaviour in the television broadcast Rambam in January. They were portrayed as scientists who could be bought. BNNVARA eats humble pie now that they have reviewed the raw journalistic footage together with a delegation from Maastricht University. The broadcasting company regrets that the cutting-and-pasting has created an incorrect image.

More violence against the police, officials back tougher sentences

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch police were subject to 10% more cases of verbal and physical violence last year than in 2017, according to new police figures.

Four in five private landlords have just one house, CBS research shows

THE NETHERLANDS. Four in five private landlords in the Netherlands rent out just one property and see the income as a supplement to their pension, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday.

Wanted: 13 PhD's

Wanted: 13 PhD's

MAASTRICHT. Thirteen PhD students from three Maastricht faculties will need to be recruited this year for research project Limes - Latin for border. The project was recently honoured with a 1.4 million euro European subsidy (Marie Curie Cofund). The ...

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