On Wednesday 30 September a special event on the role of participation and representation took place in the Maagdenhuis. It was organised by the Executive Board (CvB), the Central Works Council and the Central Student Council, and marked the start of the councils’ new term of office.
Rector Magnificus Dymph van den Boom opened the event, calling on the audience of eighty people who attended to examine both the structure and culture of student and staff participation at the UvA.
This was the question to which Dr Breanndán Ó Nualláin (COR, AUC), Marlise Huijzer (OC FMG), Prof. Albert Feilzer (dean of ACTA) , Iris Kooreman (FMG), Dr Jonneke Bekkenkamp (COR, FGw) and Prof. Edgar du Perron (dean of FdR and vice-rector) pitched their respective answers. Their suggestions and ideas varied from calls to ‘take student and staff representation more seriously and involve the representative bodies earlier on’ and ‘facilitate representation more effectively’ to ‘increasing the turnout in elections’ and ‘increased participation and right of approval and more visible victories’.
How can we achieve a vibrant culture of participation and representation that contributes to good governance? That was the focus of a panel discussion led by former COR chair Dr Radboud Winkels, in which panel members Prof. Dymph van den Boom, Dr Ingmar Visser (COR, FMG), Lucy Wenting (chair of the UCO) and Joris van Wouden (SR, FGw) entered into discussion with the audience. The discussion revolved around subjects such as autonomy, a need for representative bodies that are closer to students and staff, the relationship between the central representative bodies and those in the faculties and departments and possibilities for more direct democracy and for taking student and staff representation more seriously.
In conclusion Gerard Mols, member of the Supervisory Board, thanked Radboud Winkels and Ingmar Visser for their efforts as chairperson and vice-chairperson of the COR, respectively.