A proposal from the Executive Board, based on a two-year-old proposal from the University Council itself, received a positive opinion from the Council. Employees on a faculty advisory board will be compensated at least 0.1 FTE in that proposal, while chairs will get an extra 0.05 FTE. A minimum compensation of 0.05 FTE, plus 0.05 for the chair, applies to employees on the programme committee. Students on the faculty advisory board receive between 235 and 400 euros per month, while those on the programme committee receive between 117 and 200 euros. Exactly how high their remuneration is depends on the participation setup for each faculty.

Proposal in a drawer

This proposal brings to an end more than two years of efforts by the University Council to introduce equal pay by faculties. In April 2022, when council member Aleid Fokkema (ESHCC) had already invested several months of energy into the proposal, she feared it would disappear into a drawer.

The Executive Board was prepared to go along with the Council’s proposal, but first wanted to be sure that all faculty advisory boards and programme committees would also unanimously support the proposal. The responsibility to find that support was placed on the council, Fokkema says. “That was a learning lesson in diplomacy”, she explains of her tour of all the participation councils. She found support everywhere, except from the chair of the Faculty Advisory Board of the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE). “He asked: ‘Why do you need to organise this centrally? We can solve that ourselves’”, Fokkema recalls. ESE was one of the faculties that did not yet offer compensation. “I asked him if he would block the proposal. He promised he wouldn’t.” With this, the support was finally complete.

Overloaded agenda

Fokkema had the – in retrospect naive – hope that with these declarations of support, the Executive Board would quickly adopt the proposal. But the university administration first wanted to make sure it had the support of the deans. For this, it had to be discussed in the Board of Deans, which meets monthly. Unfortunately, it took months before the topic finally made the cut. “That agenda has always been overloaded”, Fokkema knows. “And maybe this was not a top priority.”

Now, some two years later, things are finally moving. The Executive Board has submitted a proposal to the U Council, which is very similar to the Council’s own original 2022 proposal. “If you ask me why it has succeeded now, I think it is because there is an initiative from the Ministry to better support participation. This has strengthened the Executive Board’s resolve to present the proposal to the deans”, Fokkema analyses, her voice sounding relieved.

Fokkema expects the new compensation system to come into effect as early as next academic year, although this is not yet 100% certain.

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