It currently takes months before students who were wrongfully told to leave are allowed to resume their degrees. According to the National Student Legal Services Office (LSR), universities and hogescholen must rectify their mistakes more quickly. “It is ridiculous,” said LSR board member Gabriël van Rosmalen.
Until last year, universities and universities of applied sciences violated the Higher Education Act. Hundreds of second-year students were told through a binding study advice to quit their degrees, even though the Higher Education Court of Appeal (CBHO) found this constituted a violation of the rules.
Most educational institutions were quick to adjust their policies. However, they do not exactly welcome students who wish to resume their degrees, and the National Student Legal Services Office is not amused.
Scratching their heads
“We are talking about thirty to forty students,” says LSR’s Van Rosmalen. When these students try to re-enrol, they are initially turned down. They will then have to appeal the decision, and will be found to be in the right, even before a judge gets to rule on the case. “But obviously, this will take the students several months.”
In actual fact, educational institutions should have scratched their heads when they adjusted their policies and asked themselves which students they had wrongfully asked to leave in the last few years. “Those former students should all have received a letter asking if they wanted to resume their degrees,” Van Rosmalen feels.
Not given a proper look
For instance, Eric Schimmel was allowed to re-enrol in his Japanese Studies programme at Leiden University. He was asked to leave because he had failed to pass one first-year subject, both in his first year and in his second year. “They saw I had been issued with a negative binding study advice, so they did not give my request a proper look,” he told us. In December he was found to be in the right, and in February he was allowed to resume his degree.
The university does not wish to discuss individual cases, its spokesperson told us. “But normally, requests are processed a lot more quickly than this, so clearly, this was a special case.”
Van Rosmalen feels the case was not that special. Which is precisely the problem: students are often treated this way, even if the educational institutions are by now aware that their policies were unjust. “It is ridiculous that you are wrongfully asked to quit your degree and then can’t resume it at once.”
LSR also promotes the interests of students who were asked to leave and do not wish to resume their degrees. The legal services office may demand that they be paid compensation due to their graduation date having been delayed.