Complaining is hot, as the initiators of the Facebook page EUR Confessions know. Last month they celebrated their 500th confession, including an important revelation. And there was even more to celebrate on campus.

That celebration was short-lived, however. In early January it appeared as if slowpokes would be able to reclaim their expired credits. Normally, course credits obtained will lapse if you take too long to graduate, but an education expert discovered a loophole in the law where that rule no longer applied. Shouts of joy from procrastinating students on the EM Facebook page, but unfortunately, within 24 hours EUR announced that it had no intention of allowing students to reclaim lapsed credits. Naturally, this was met with a chorus of boos on the same Facebook page.

Fortunately, this same procrastinating target group was treated to the revelation of who was behind the EUR Confessions Facebook page so popular among them. Former sociology students Jan and Selma – they confessed they’re in a relationship – revealed that they copied their idea from a confessions page in Belgium. Their revelation was published to mark the milestone of the 500th confession on the EM website. Shocker: the founders of the Facebook page have never been inside the Polak Building, the favourite complaint topic on EUR Confessions.

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One of favorite subjects of complaint: a crowded Polak building Image credit: Ronald van den Heerik

All this moaning about the Polak Building and its study areas is drawing to a close, but students who enjoy being crammed together still have to wait a bit before they can do so in another building. The reopening of the University Library (featuring 900 study places) has been postponed until May: problems with the call for tenders. The Sanders Building will also be ready a little later than planned: instead of March it will be 3 April at the earliest.

Something that never shows up on the confessions page are confessions from the hundreds of students who ‘forget to pay’ at the campus supermarket. Research carried out by Behavioural Economics students revealed that in the Spar supermarket, one in five students occasionally walks out with a stolen snack in their bag. And why isn’t this on EUR Confessions? According to the supermarket manager, his other customers on campus are the reason. “Those university of applied sciences students just have a different mentality.” I see.

EUR employees have ample reason to complain, even though they prefer to do this in a study carried out by the Dutch Trade Union Confederation FNV. The study might be somewhat biased since FNV is in a bit of a tight spot with the universities regarding a new collective bargaining agreement (CAO). Any disastrous findings would aid the union in its negotiations. In any case, FNV calculated that six out of ten university employees have physical complaints due to work pressure, while almost half stated they report for work even when ill.

But someone who seriously has a good reason to complain is a Public Administration lecturer who has been harassed by a stalker for several months now. Things have gotten so bad the university felt it necessary to place extra surveillance cameras on the floor where he works in the Mandeville Building. This hasn’t been of much help yet. Even though the cameras were installed in December, the lecturer was found unconscious in January after being pushed down the stairs, possibly by the stalker in question. No one has been apprehended for this assault.

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Eén van de camera’s in het Mandevillegebouw, die de dader dus blijkbaar niet afschrikt

A regularly recurring lamentation in this section is the acute lack of women professors, especially at Erasmus School of Economics and Rotterdam School of Management, where it’s one big sausage fest. But no more excuses because Minister Jet Bussemaker has now made five million euro available to appoint one hundred women to the position of professor within the next five years. It turns out that at EUR, this initiative is already encountering difficulties in the preliminary stages. The question remains as to whether the university can quickly prepare a sufficient number of suitable female candidates within this timeframe. To be continued.

We’ll continue with the political theme as the elections are coming up and it’s time for unfeasible, populist trial balloons. Enter the VVD: Member of Parliament Pieter Duisenberg would like to see research into the political affiliations of universities. The ‘liberal’ had apparently gotten wind of the deplorable fact that universities are too leftist biased in their political leanings. Bussemaker’s subsequent response made clear what she planned to do with this proposal: “I am not going to do this. We’re not about to turn universities and universities of applied sciences into politically correct organisations.”