On Friday, Bekkers sent his view on the merger, a 22-page plea, to the Executive Board. Earlier, ESHCC interim dean Dymph van den Boom wrote an advice to the Executive Board, in which she argued that a merger with the social faculty is the best route to the future for the ESHCC. That faculty has been writing red figures for years; the structural loss should come to an end with the merger. In the meantime, the Executive Board has already indicated that they want to go along with Van den Boom’s advice.
The dean of the ESSB sets firm conditions for a possible merger. The ESSB was substantially reorganised only four years ago, which was a painful episode for many employees. Bekkers says a merger should not mean even a single step backwards in that reorganisation. Also, no jobs may be lost. The university must ensure there will be ‘high quality support’ within the faculty, which after the merger provides almost half of all bachelor’s degree programs and about one third of all master’s degree programs at Woudestein. Moreover, an important condition is that the existing departments within ESSB will not pay for potential losses of one of the ESHCC departments after the merger. History, Cultural Studies and Communication would have to resolve that loss among themselves.
Bekkers also wants the dean of the ESSB, in other words himself, to be in charge of the merger process. ESSB and ESHCC staff should be housed under one roof and existing forms of education would have to be maintained after the merger.
There is quite a bit of opposition to the merger within Bekkers’ faculty. At the Department of Psychology and Pedagogy, 48 employees signed a letter of protest. There seems to be more support within Public Administration and Sociology, and professor Liesbet van Zoonen wrote a letter in favour of a merger, on behalf of the Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH). There is also resistance at the ESHCC: a majority of employees are openly opposed to the merger.