House will not encourage unis to cancel BSA
The motions were submitted last week after a decision to cancel the BSA this year because of the corona pandemic. Universities of applied sciences will be cancelling the BSA, but research universities, including the UG, have decided they will maintain it.
SP MP Frank Knutselaar says this is not fair, because all students run the risk of study delays because of the coronavirus. He doesn’t think it’s right that research university students should be burdened with a BSA ‘during these difficult times’ while applied sciences students aren’t.
He submitted a motion, asking the minister to ‘appeal heavily to the universities’ to cancel the BSA this academic year. A small majority in the Lower House disagreed with him: the motion was rejected by 79 out of 149 votes.
A second motion was submitted by Paul van Meenen (D66) and Lisa Westerveld (GroenLinks). They were also trying to raise awareness of the fact that ‘some students are unable to flourish under these extraordinary circumstances, even though they are fit to study under normal ones’.
They addressed universities directly in the motion, calling on them ‘to not just apply the BSA in this year that has been so marked by corona, but to come up with a different norm that does justice to these extraordinary circumstances’. The motion was stayed, which means the House hasn’t voted on it yet.
The UG has maintained that it will continue to apply the BSA this academic year. Responses to the decision have been mixed. Both student organisations and the Groninger Studentenbond asked the university to cancel the BSA, but some lecturers would rather that didn’t happen.
How long the BSA will be maintained in its current form is another matter, since the Lower House accepted a motion to do away with the concept altogether this past October.