The university should be allowed to organise by-elections for its staff sections. Some of the employees argued this on Thursday during a board committee meeting of the university council.
Mathieu Paapst and Lorenzo Squintani alerted Hans Biemans with the board of directors to an UKrant article that said that multiple faculty and employee councils have trouble finding people to fill their seats. It just so happened that the board also proposed the electoral regulations be updated on Thursday.
There aren’t enough candidates, which means there aren’t any people to replace the ones who want to leave. However, by-elections are only allowed when more than half of the personnel seats are empty. If fewer than half the seats are empty, they will remain so until the next staff elections, which are held every two years. The employees feel this should change.
‘The solution would be to have more candidates for people to elect’, Biemans responded. But that’s exactly the problem, said Dini Bouwman, chair of the personnel faction. According to her, it’s not about the two-year term, but about the councils being understaffed. ‘Faculty council members aren’t given any extra time for their council work, essentially making them volunteers.’
She proposed they be given remuneration for four hours a week. Something has to happen, she feels. Either council work should be made more appealing, or there should be an option to get new people in between elections.
The board of directors will present the electoral rules to the university council in two weeks. Squintani urged them to include the by-elections in the new iteration. ‘We shouldn’t have to wait another year for that’, he said. But Biemans said it was too short notice to include it, but did say he was willing to discuss it with the board.
Overview of regulations
Besides, said head of the legal department Aart Korten, they were already looking at the allowance for council members. ‘But that’s something we need to discuss with the faculty boards.’ They’re also still working on an overview of the various faculty and service regulations, Korten said after the meeting.
Next year’s budget also has room for a co-determination coordinator who will support the various councils at 0.4 FTE a week.