University council in emergency meeting over Vindicat
That means the council’s faith in the board of directors has once again taken a knock. During the heated budget meeting on Thursday, December 10, the council blamed the board for informing them poorly and insufficiently.
Board member Hans Biemans told the board during the Thursday meeting that the matter of Vindicat’s accreditation was still being discussed and that he couldn’t say anything about it. A few hours later, the UG issued a press release that showed that it had already been decided to ban Vindicat from official events. The association will still receive committee grants.
David Jan Meijer, faction chair for De Vrije Student (DVS), says he feels ‘straight-up cheated’ in the matter. He also says the board isn’t standing by the agreements they made with the associations. ‘At the core of those agreements is that association boards can only be held responsible for incidents they could have influenced directly’, he says.
But it’s now turned out that the board is also taking into consideration when Vindicat members violate corona rules, like when two year clubs organised a bus party or when approximately a hundred members attended a house party. DVS’ call for an emergency meeting is being supported by student party SOG and two staff members. No one yet knows whether the board of directors will attend. ‘The board isn’t obligated to be at any of our meetings’, explains Simon van der Pol with the personnel faction.
Van der Pol is one of the staff members who supports the emergency meeting. ‘I’m mainly concerned about the fact that the council isn’t being informed properly and that we’re missing out on things. Vindicat is just once example, albeit a shocking one.’
‘As far as I’m concerned, it’s unacceptable for the board to talk about reform, leaving us to read about the decision in the news several hours later. In the meantime, they failed to answer any questions we had during the meeting’, he says.
While the entire council harshly criticised the board’s poor communication on Thursday, not all members see the point in an emergency meeting. ‘We had an intense meeting about the budget last Thursday. To be honest, I think that’s more important’, says Casper Albers with the personnel faction. As far as he’s concerned, this particular matter could have waited until the next scheduled meeting.
In the meantime, the board appears to be taking the council’s feelings about the budget seriously. Board president Jouke de Vries, who couldn’t attend Thursday’s meeting for personal reasons, has requested an ‘informal meeting’ with council representatives for Wednesday, December 16.
But some council members don’t like that this meeting will be private. ‘Something that should be decided during a university council meeting will now become a backroom deal on Wednesday morning’, says Meijer. For that reason, his faction will not attend.
Student party DAG would also prefer a public meeting, but will not dismiss attending the informal meeting out of hand. ‘It’s a difficult decision, because we do want a seat at the table’, says faction chair Ivi Kussmaul.
Albers says it’s normal for the board to request an informal meeting. ‘After a negative advice, this is the step the board should be taking’, he says. ‘They’ll ask about the sore points and what the council wants the board to do to make it right. Besides, it’s not like any decisions will be made during the informal meeting.’
Van der Pol also says the board is taking the right steps. ‘It would be better to discuss these issues during a public meeting’, he says. ‘But sometimes you have to have an informal meeting if you want results.’
Both Albers and Van der Pol are clear when it comes to what the council needs for a positive advice: they want promises concerning the board’s transparency and the manner in which the council is informed.