The university’s highest-ranking representative body generally meets with the Executive Board once every six weeks. Typically, an EM reporter is the only outsider attending these meetings, but all interested parties are welcome to attend the proceedings.

However, the representative body generally meets among itself before the meeting with the Executive Board, and so far, these meetings have not been able to be attended by external parties. EM asked the council a while ago to open such meetings to the public, but until now, the council has always refused to do so.

However, while drafting a proposal for an amendment to the council’s by-laws, the secretary to the council recently discovered that the council’s closed meetings contravene said by-laws. The by-laws state that the meetings are public, except for a number of reasons, such as the discussion of an individual person. Upon realising this, the council immediately decided to open its meetings to the public.

Seemingly inconsistent with the law

Recently, Profielen, the EM equivalent published by Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (RUAS), posted an article about the fact that the votes cast by the school’s central representative advisory council were sealed to the public. Legal expert Peter Kwikkers said this seemed inconsistent with the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act, which stipulates that representative bodies must meet and cast votes publicly. A quick survey carried out by the Higher Education Press Agency showed that RUAS was not an exception to the rule: five of the nine universities of applied sciences polled indicated that their representative bodies, too, cast their votes behind closed doors.