The last two meetings between this year’s University Council and the Executive Board will take place this month. The Council has achieved a great deal recently, often in very good cooperation with the Executive Board. This Council will use these final two Consultation Meetings with the Board to add to our list of accomplishments for the academic community at large. That also means that the Council will continue to challenge the Executive Board on the university’s current allocation model.

Let me give you a couple of examples of the Council’s recent achievements. The ‘Return after Pregnancy’ policy is now accessible to (many) more new mothers among our university’s academic staff. The University Council has developed a platform (Students4Students) that funds projects designed by students themselves to enrich, both personally and professionally, their time at EUR.

Moreover, the University Council continues to facilitate and empower Faculty Councils and Programme Committees  in light of the new Higher Education Act. And, together with EUROPA and the Councils of  the university’s support services, the University Council has initiated a study to unpack and solve the problem of work pressure at our university. This study is currently being set up within four faculties and support services.


These are all initiatives that this Council can rightly be proud of. They enable more equality, sustainability as well as better participation of the academic community in decision-making at EUR. And in all these initiatives we worked very well with the Executive Board. So it is all the more disappointing that the University Council and the Executive Board (continue to) disagree strongly with each other about the direction of a key issue: the University Allocation Model.

During the academic year 2014-2015, the University Council asked the Executive Board to evaluate and revise this financial allocation model, which details how government funding to our university is distributed across the different faculties and services.


Back in 2014, and still in 2017, the University Council argued that Erasmus University’s existing allocation model gives rise to financial and political inequality between the large and small faculties (and degrees). The model stimulates so-called ‘efficiency-thinking’, as the money a faculty receives increases proportionally with the number of students that graduate in that faculty.

Consequently, small(er) faculties and degree schemes are vulnerable and restricted in their future and development because they do not “yield” as many student (as quickly). That is why the University Council was happy to  support the Executive Board’s 2015 proposal to hire an external party to investigate avenues for altering the existing allocation model.

However, the actual investigation, the preliminary outcomes of which were presented recently,  has two central limitations. Firstly, it proposes only a ‘(cosmetic) update to; rather than a ‘fundamental alteration of’ the existing model. And secondly, it considers deans and faculty directors—who do not believe that the model needs fundamental changing—as key, if not only, ‘stakeholders’ in revising the allocation model. Faculty Councils and Programme Committees, to mention two key representative bodies, were not consulted at all.

The University Council has raised concerns about these two fundamental flaws in the investigation on several occasions.

Bound by a predefined consensus

The limited scope of the actual investigation and the remarkable use of the term ‘stakeholder’, have negatively constrained the actual investigation itself. For example, meetings that were held with faculty directors of education and research as well as pressure cooker sessions that were organized with faculty controllers were bound by the predefined consensus (among Deans) that the basic principles of the allocation model were not up for discussion.

And so these ‘stakeholders’ decided that a concrete alternative to the current allocation of funds, an alternative proposed by the University Council because of its potential to reduce inequity between large and small faculties, did not need to be considered.

Status quo

The University Council cannot accept that, effectively, Faculty managers  can decide that maintaining the status quo serves the interests of the academic community at Erasmus University. In its last few months, this University Council wants to remind the Executive Board and Board of Deans who the real ‘stakeholders’ of this university are: its academic community of staff and students.

The Council’s message in our last two meetings with the Board is clear: Go back to the interests of the academic community, or at least to the participatory bodies elected to represent them  Let them participate in deciding as to which allocation model(s) will turn EUR into a fair, equal and sustainable university for all its stakeholders.