Lijst Sterk calls it quits

Student party Lijst Sterk will not be participating in this year’s university elections and will be stepping down from the University Council.
By Peter Keizer / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

The party has decided to focus entirely on the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, where they are also involved in the representative council. ‘With our current manpower, we feel it’s better to focus all our attention on one faction rather than divide it between two factions’, says faction chair Pieter Polhuis.

Lijst Student Erkend – Students Acknowledged, the party’s full name in English – was founded in 2014 when Leon Sloots, then chairman of the Independent Student Council, decided to leave that party and strike out on his own. Ever since then, Lijst Sterk has been a one-man faction on the University Council. According to Polhuis, it has proven difficult to find students willing to represent the party at the RUG on their own.

‘You have to be willing to take on the establishment, to make compromises. You can’t be afraid to make mistakes. Most students are fine with that if they’re in a faction with four or five others, but when they’re on their own, it requires too much work and skill’, he says.

Elections

In late May, RUG students and employees will vote on which personnel and student parties they want to see on the faculty councils and the University Council. Lijst Sterk will remain in the University Council until new members take over in September.

During that time, Polhuis wants to focus on convincing the Board of Directors to write a letter to pension fund ABP, imploring the board of the fund to cease investing in fossil fuels.

Fossil fuel

According to Lijst Sterk, this government and education pension fund invests approximately 33 billion euros annually in fossil fuel companies such as Shell and ExxonMobil. Previously, the Hanze sent a similar letter to ABP at the request of Lijst Sterk and DWARS, the youth organisation for political party GroenLinks. ‘We also want to discuss this with Sibrand Poppema (editor’s note: the RUG president)’, according to the faction chair.

According to Polhuis, Lijst Sterk has accomplished a lot in its three years at the RUG. ‘We’ve been very effective over the past year. A letter we wrote concerning the funding for pre-masters is now on the agenda to be discussed in The Hague. Recently, we delivered plans for the Usva property at the Munnekeholm, which will soon be vacant. We would like it to become a meeting point for students.’

According to Polhuis, the decision to leave the University Council led to commotion within Lijst Sterk. ‘It was a complex matter’, he says. ‘We won’t be participating in the elections this year, but I can’t say what will happen in the years after that.’

Photo: Lijst Sterk

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