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Entries for June 2020

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...
“I bought a one-way ticket to Sydney and took off”

“I bought a one-way ticket to Sydney and took off”

International Business alumnus Arjan Tiessen This interview with wine importer Arjan Tiessen (37) has been about a year and a half in the making. It all started when Arjan, who lives in Tanzania, replied to my request for an interview on Facebook Messenger. “I’d love to, man! That article from sixteen years ago, I still think about i...

“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...
Literally: Fit & Fun Outdoor

Literally: Fit & Fun Outdoor

For the time being UM Sports is taking things outside now indoor sports are still not allowed. As of 1 July, sport centres may open their doors again, but UM Sports does not have official approval yet, they report on Facebook. Four days a week, there will be Fit & Fun Outdoor, a class in which you run short distances and ...

“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? Obs...
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...

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 i...
PhD candidates must take an oath

PhD candidates must take an oath

MAASTRICHT. PhD candidates must take a public oath, promising that they will adhere to the rules of scientific integrity at all times. The valorisation paragraph has also been adapted and is now called ‘impact paragraph’. This is included in the new UM Regulations for obtaining a PhD, which will apply from October. 
Having drinks sitting at a picnic table

Having drinks sitting at a picnic table

No coughing the past few days? No temperature or runny nose? Nor any roommates with such symptoms? Good, says the girl at the entrance to the Koko grounds, to the rear of the railway lines on the Gebroeders Hermansstraat. The visitor subsequently receives a dose of disinfectant spray on his hands and is allowed to continue. Just like the rest of th...
The Ultimate Freiburger Recipe

The Ultimate Freiburger Recipe

Now that UM students are starting to toss their backpacks into the corners of their rooms and pack their suitcases to get away from stress and deadlines, I too am awfully confronted with the fact that my year abroad is slowly but steadily dawning to an end. I must admit, it comes as quite the surprise: one year always felt like ages and I never rea...

Building the Maastricht Law Faculty in Minecraft

Building the Maastricht Law Faculty in Minecraft

What does the Maastricht Faculty of Law look like in a virtual world? Now that the majority of staff and students works and studies from home, some are looking for a way to create a community. How? By building the Faculty of Law in Minecraft, a popular computer game.

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.
Quarantine sessions for SBE students

Quarantine sessions for SBE students

Albert Vijghen and Jim Bemelen studied Econometrics together at Maastricht University, after which they both became teachers. Vijghen teaches at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) and Bemelen at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. In addition to their jobs, they hold voluntary “quarantine sessions” with a small group of SB...

About “What You Will Not Do”

About “What You Will Not Do”

This is my last column for Observant. I tried writing about the current situation in the world, but the image of me yelling “swim” from the shore to a drowning person wouldn’t go away. Although I had my share of drownings, I am confident they never had anything to do with my skin colour. So, to save us all from my incompetence on ...

'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&rd...
Big profits on the stock market or saving the coral?

Big profits on the stock market or saving the coral?

Laugh, don’t start speaking until you are in the right position, breathe calmly and from your abdomen, speak with a low voice, do not stand too close to the wall, make contact with the audience and very importantly: do not play-act. This is a selection of the presentation tips by actor Niels Lemmens. At the end of January, he gave one of the ...

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.
Woman on a Mission

Woman on a Mission

I have a confession to make: I used to have an eating disorder. Although my family and friends know this about me, after starting my PhD at Maastricht University in 2011, I told only a few colleagues about my history. This is striking, considering I work in the Eating Disorders Research Group. I’ve always feared that colleagues would ju...

"Maastricht is no longer a ghost town"

"Maastricht is no longer a ghost town"

She had been looking forward to it all year: spring, the moment when she would only have to write her thesis and would be free to explore the Netherlands. But two weeks before her last exam, the country went into lockdown. Now, master’s student of Arts and Heritage Katharina Eiben is exploring her current place of residence: Maastricht. &ldqu...

Hello, 'above the keyboard' dressing!

Hello, 'above the keyboard' dressing!

I sharpened all my pencils. Cleaned and neatly organised my desk. Requested permission to access all Google docs and Zoom meetings. A tingling in my stomach affirms it: My second semester in Freiburg starts in two days and I am excited! Wait, back up. My second semester is about to start? While my friends over in Maastricht are dotting the I'...

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.
UM Board: against racism and against Zwarte Piet

UM Board: against racism and against Zwarte Piet

Zwarte Piet is racist, is now the official view of Maastricht University. On 10 June, prompted by the worldwide demonstrations against racism, the Executive Board issued a statement in which it emphasises the “diverse and inclusive” nature of the UM. “We are proud of our students and staff who stand up, who speak out against racis...

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.
"I feel lonely sometimes”

"I feel lonely sometimes”

In March, master’s student of Strategic Marketing Belén Sánchez Ortigosa was faced with a difficult dilemma: should she get on a plane to Madrid to be with her family, or stay in Maastricht during the lockdown? She chose the second option. “I had to act very quickly. More and more flights were getting cancelled. I think I made the right...

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).
“What happens when you lose your Internet connection?”

“What happens when you lose your Internet connection?”

MAASTRICHT. Online proctoring, or testing with an invigilator who can see into the student’s room. It was introduced in great haste in three Maastricht University faculties. Students were consulted at the very last moment, but not in public council meetings. Privacy objections? Dean Thomas Cleij from the Faculty of Science and Engineering: &l...
A Weinstein affair as a wake-up call

A Weinstein affair as a wake-up call

As a PhD candidate, you are about to submit an article to a journal. Just before that, an experienced colleague e-mails you that he would like to be named as co-author. This troubles you because this colleague made no contribution. What do you do?
Special nature hobbies

Special nature hobbies

In the past year, Observant accompanied three UM employees while exercising their special hobby in nature: Myrtle Brongers is a beekeeper, Cécile Luijten is a hunter and Eric Bleize is a photographer
Social isolation as unhealthy as smoking

Social isolation as unhealthy as smoking

Days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, governments around the world have enforced social isolation measurements to stop the spread of the virus. While the severity of the virus on human beings was still unknown, governments acted swift and with determination claiming that they’d rather “be safe than...

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?
My self-grown donation

My self-grown donation

More than two years ago, during my first semester in Maastricht, I went to the hairdresser. The result was… embarrassing. It wasn't bad. I just looked like a 40-year-old in the body of an 18-year-old. Which, again, isn't bad. It's just not the approach to my first year I had in mind. Scarred, I didn’t go back to the hair...

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.
Standing on a pole for hours on end or running 10 kilometres for a good cause

Standing on a pole for hours on end or running 10 kilometres for a good cause

It is a long time ago when collecting money for a good cause meant going around with a collection box. Every year, thousands of people are sponsored to cycle, run or take on some other physical challenge. Students and employees from the UM do their part too. Observant spoke to some of them.
“Racism is not a debate, it’s a fact”

“Racism is not a debate, it’s a fact”

Around the world, protests have been held against racism and police violence against black people and people of colour the past few days. These were prompted by the death of George Floyd in the USA, who died after having been held down with a policeman’s knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes. In Maastricht too, some two hundred people gath...
"As a ten-year-old I already knew what the Hermès logo was"

"As a ten-year-old I already knew what the Hermès logo was"

Thom Metselaar (21, Dutch), second-year student of International Business, describes his style as “basic streetwear focusing on shoes”. 
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.
"I’m particularly sad that I didn’t get a chance to see what working in a hospital is like"

"I’m particularly sad that I didn’t get a chance to see what working in a hospital is like"

Sabine Kemper, master’s student of Healthcare Policy, Innovation and Management, was supposed to be doing a research internship at the hospital right now. It would have been the perfect opportunity for her to gain practical experience. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, her internship was cancelled. “This was my only opportunity to do an ...

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.
Nursing homes deal with the corona rules differently

Nursing homes deal with the corona rules differently

Face mask or not? A separate room for visitors or can they just come inside? Nursing homes deal very differently with the corona rules for visitors, it appeared from initial observations by the Academische Werkplaatsen Ouderenzorg, (Academic Work Places for Geriatric Care) across the Netherlands. 
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...
Juggling lots of balls even during corona

Juggling lots of balls even during corona

Work placement, thesis, study, politics. These are just a few of the things that keep Jonathan Felix, master’s student of Law and Labour, busy at the moment. Even during the pandemic, he has his hands full. “Three days a week, I do a distance research placement at Zuyd Hogeschool. I am taking two subjects for my master’s and I wor...

A sip of water against exam stress or not?

A sip of water against exam stress or not?

Podcasts are extremely popular and are shooting up all over the place. News, sports, food and unsolved murders: you name it and there is a podcast about it. About almost everything, thought Katinka van Kan (28) from Maastricht, who is an consciousness coach focussing mainly on students. Student life was the subject that was missing. Van Kan fi...

Tinnitus, experience days and playing the piano

Tinnitus, experience days and playing the piano

Kennedy d’Abreu de Paulo is a master’s student of Biomedical Sciences, specialising in neuromodulation. “Neuromodulation is about making adjustments to the brain or nervous system, for example through deep brain stimulation, where electrodes are implanted in the brain.” d’Abreu de Paulo talks about it with a lot of ...

Masked driver

Masked driver

Like many of you (I assume), I feel like a criminal about to rob the cashier whenever I enter the supermarket for some cherry tomatoes. I've already looked into sticking Frozen stickers on my huge mask to demonstrate my goodwill. After all, no one could possibly be afraid of someone entering the store covered in Olaf's, am I right? Sadly, t...

“My style in three words? Art, witchcraft, sexuality”

“My style in three words? Art, witchcraft, sexuality”

Diandra Agapic (19, Romanian), second-year Arts and Culture. Describes her style as “artistic and theatrical”.