The PvdA feels students must become a party in the decision-making process when it comes to discontinuing a programme or the composition of the executive board. On Thursday, this matter was discussed in the Lower House.

Along with the PvdA, D66 also supports these plans. Both parties want students and lecturers to also participate in the decision-making process when appointing a new board. The PvdA believes that this way, all parties bear responsibility for the board. The current involvement of students and lecturers in deciding the composition of the board is negligible.

More participation in other areas as well

The parties also feel that a more equitable distribution of power is needed in other areas. Students should have more say in decisions about institutional funds, housing, and cutting programmes.

But not all parties back these plans. The VVD believes that the focus should be on the quality of teaching and education rather than who should participate in decision-making or where this participation is desired. The CDA also has reservations about these plans. Their concern is that with all these new regulations and statutes, a different set of problems will emerge.

Student organisations

Student organisations are pleased with the plans of the Lower House. “After years of calls for more participation in decision-making for students, it’s time for real change”, says Stefan Wirken of the Dutch National Union of Students. “Student voices calling for more of a say in decision-making have grown louder since the occupation of the Maagdenhuis. They’re finally getting a response”, says Linde de Nie, chair of the Dutch National Student Association, in the newspaper de Volkskrant.

The reason for the debate is the ‘academic spring’ that took place at many universities last year. The demand was for more democratisation and at Erasmus University, this resulted in the launch of initiatives such as The New University RotterdamRethink EUR and Philosophy Ground .