DAG storms into Council

Student faction DAG made a surprising debut in the University Council elections: The party has won two seats.
By Peter Keizer / Translation by Traci White / Photos by Sjef Weller

DAG (Democratic Academy Groningen) nabbed a seat from SOG (Student Organisation Groningen), who is back down to five seats once again. Lijst Calimero will keep their current five seats in the University Council.

‘We are pleasantly surprised’, says DAG leader Jasper Been. ‘We were hoping for one seat, but we nearly got three – we were just 20 votes short’. Been says that the party’s substantive programme was what got them there. ‘Unlike the other parties, we didn’t have six familiar faces on a candidate list. We just focused on substance. For us, it was all about getting a seat at the table in the University Council so as to be better informed about what is going on. And now, as it turns out, we have two.’

DAG had previously made known that a seat in the Council is not their ultimate goal. ‘It’s not about the University Council’, Been says. ‘It’s about our work groups who will investigate things like the Energy Academy and Yantai.’

Group hug

The members of the SOG student party were disappointed by the results. The students needed a group hug to process losing a seat. ‘It’s a real shame’, says faction chair Evan Clark. ‘Our campaign team really gave it our all and I’m very proud of our efforts. That’s why it’s such a pity to lose a seat after all. But I am confident that our successors will win it back.’

Following the results, which were announced by rector Elmer Sterken in English for the first time, Clark could not immediately say what led to the party’s performance. ‘I’m too preoccupied to think about it right now.’

‘Childish game’

There were plenty of long faces to be seen in Lijst Calimero’s entourage as well. ‘I’m very happy that we kept our seats’, says faction chairperson Daan van Dijk. ‘But the two seats that went to DAG are a waste because that isn’t even what they’re after. I’m very curious to see what they will do.’

Van Dijk expects that SOG and Lijst Calimero will work together more often this fall, seeing as both parties have five seats a piece.

Lijst Sterk’s chairperson Pieter Polhuis thinks that DAG’s presence will be a change for the better in the University Council. His one person faction did not participate in the elections this year, which meant that his seat was relinquished. ‘Perhaps the childish game going on between SOG and Lijst Calimero will be set aside and they will collaborate more frequently’, according to Polhuis.

He says that he is surprised that DAG managed to win two seats right off the bat. ‘That is impressive. They have a clearly defined profile, which helps. SOG and Lijst Calimero are a lot alike. That was also true of Lijst Sterk: we fairly closely resembled SOG and Calimero, too. We had our own distinctive profile, but we never really managed to get that across.’

Musical chairs

As for the employee factions, there was little change. The Personnel faction maintained their nine seats, and the Science Faction kept their three seats. But within the Personnel faction, there was some reshuffling of the leadership: researcher Carlien Vermue rose through the ranks to the leadership position with 245 votes. The current faction leader, Bart Beijer (178 votes, in the middle of the above photo), sank to fifth place.

‘We are very pleased to have gotten so many votes and that we have maintained our current number of seats’, says Beijer, even though the party was hoping for a bit more. ‘Our candidates from UMCG did not do so well. But Carlien did exceptionally well.’  With regard to his newly lower position on the list, Beijer is clear: ‘It doesn’t matter at all, it’s irrelevant. I’m happy with the results.’

Nederlands

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