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Until mid-December of last year, staff and students were able to take part in an advisory referendum of the Democratisation and Decentralisation Committee (D&D). On Thursday, 12 January the committee, which was formed by the representative bodies and the action groups, released the first results.


Of the 6,902 voting-eligible staff, 2,582 (37.4%) cast their vote (excluding AMC-UvA staff). Of the 34,849 students who were eligible to vote, 4,064 (11.66%) cast their vote.


The questions posed by the committee broadly covered three topics: the creation of a broad deliberative forum (a ‘new-style senate’), a charter and four governance models.

In short, the advisory referendum has shown that many people are in favour of a new-style senate and a charter. With respect to the preferred governance model, the picture is mixed among staff: the current blue model received the most votes with 34%, but a large number of respondents (also) want the elected representative bodies to be strengthened and to have more opportunities to become involved in policy and governance at all levels of the organisation (the orange model). The participating students are extremely divided on the governance models, with a slight majority (33%) preferring the orange model.

The Committee and Ruigrok Netpanel, the research bureau commissioned by D&D to conduct the referendum, are currently working on a more detailed elaboration and interpretation of the results. On Wednesday, 25 January a meeting will be organised at which more comprehensive data will be presented. The committee is expected to make the supporting data freely available and thereby allow everyone to draw their own conclusions. 

Follow-up steps

Following discussions within the university, the committee’s report and the results of the advisory referendum, the Executive Board plans to do the following three things in the coming period:

  • Further elaborate the proposal for a new-style senate. The Board’s aim is to finalise the proposal by the end of April and present it for consideration via the established channels if possible before the summer. The UvA will hereby become the first university in the Netherlands with such an academic forum in which staff and students from across the organisation can deliberate on the university’s strategic course.
  • Prepare a number of proposals to strengthen the involvement of staff and students in decision-making at a central level, at the faculty level and at the level of programmes and research groups. The latter deserves special attention. To ensure students and staff have a stronger say in their teaching and research, it is important that the boards of studies are more effectively positioned and that the Board properly equips the academic leadership for this task.
  • And finally, the Board will continue to fully inform the academic community on all matters pertaining to the involvement of students and staff in UvA policy, as is the case with the allocation model and the choice for a new university library.

The dates on which the meetings to discuss these proposals will take place will be announced on the website and via newsletters. Proposals can be read on the website.