If it’s up to the university’s Executive Board, the merger between Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) and Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB) should be effected as soon as possible, resulting in a new faculty: Erasmus School of Humanities, Social & Behavioural Sciences. But the chairs of the respective faculty councils are critical of the Executive Board’s haste and the degree of certainty exhibited when revealing these merger plans on Wednesday.
“The Executive Board’s announcement makes it sound as if it’s a done deal. But the University Council still has to endorse the plan, and the faculty councils still have to provide their recommendations and input”, says Uribe Sandoval in relation to the Executive Board’s announcement. The faculty councils have until 21 May to inform the Executive Board of their position regarding the merger plan.
According to Uribe Sandoval, since these plans haven’t been finalised yet, the representative bodies can’t properly respond without having all the information. “Why should the council participate in a process that’s not following the rules of procedure? We find it very strange that the Executive Board says it has already made a decision regarding the merger when the most it can do is announce intent to merge. This is not the way to do it.”
Jacko van Ast, chair of the ESSB council, was somewhat more moderate in his response. “It is a bit peculiar that the Executive Board made its announcement with such certainty.” But at the same time, Van Ast appreciates the rapid pace the Executive Board is displaying in this matter. “We all know what’s at stake; we all know the pros and cons. So let’s get it done as quickly as possible.”
Van Ast reiterates that the conditions for the merger previously expressed by his dean Victor Bekkers must be included in the plan. These conditions include no dismissals as a result of the merger, sufficient support for the process, and no negative financial repercussions for ESSB. The Faculty Council will meet 21 May to adopt a position on the merger.
There is a great deal of opposition to the merger plan at both faculties. More than half of ESHCC staff signed a letter against the merger. And while 48 ESSB employees signed a similar letter opposing the plan, employees in the Public Administration and Sociology disciplines expressed support for the merger.