With astonishment DOPE has noticed the election programme 'change' of Novum for our new University Council in Observant 30.
1) Novum pretends to be international, but it risks estranging itself from the Dutch city of Maastricht, its community and students, by underlining the "Turkish, Czech, Belgian, Rwandan and German" backgrounds of their candidates. If according to Novum, international just means non-Dutch, that’s good to know. Furthermore, Novum "would like to emphasize and improve the issue of student integration". Nice words, but how? DOPE has issued concrete proposals on language policy, demanding cheap Dutch and English language courses and a summer language school. We think it’s not your background which counts, but your future with equal opportunities for all.
2) Novum criticizes grading policies, but did and doesn’t come up with any solution. Instead it complains about privacy of ID numbers, but doesn't say how they want to connect grades to students otherwise. On the other hand, DOPE has proposed to streamline grading, exam and BSA policies across faculties.
3) Novum places itself as "a connection between the University and its students". Wrong! Students áre our University. Council members just represent, don't put them at a higher level.
4) Novum welcomes "open to new suggestions and ideas you have and want us to deal with". Though, being a student party is more than just forwarding emails. Neither do they suggest how to transfer these ideas into concrete actions. Their absence at consultative meetings about e.g. improving exam locations, terms of payment of tuition fees and the opening of the academic year doesn’t help this very much.
Instead, DOPE has issued concrete proposals on e-lectures, extended library opening hours and summer resits and is doing its utmost to keep low tuition fees for second Bachelors and Masters, and to create a proper alumni policy. Moreover DOPE called the Executive Board to account about the failures of a new ICT-system (MUSL) and the Calatrava campus by urging quick action for proper exam, sports and residential facilities. Hence, DOPE makes the difference - at least somewhere!
Joost van den Akker, University Council member for DOPE