Confusion about what ‘vulnerable’ means
Who’s allowed to study in the UB?
Right now, study advisers determine whether students are considered vulnerable or not. ‘Last week, we realised the word is too open to interpretation and that different faculties have different definitions’, says director of education Rutger Klein Nagelvoort.
This means that a medical student might be denied entry into the UB by their faculty, while the arts faculty does allow one of their students, even though their circumstances are the same. ‘That’s confusing for students, and we’d like to prevent that’, says Klein Nagelvoort.
Faculties have trouble figuring out whether their vulnerable students are allowed into the UB or not. During the most recent faculty board meeting, the board of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences said the UB should make more desks available, since the faculty didn’t have enough room.
This came after the board of directors sent an update to students and staff on January 14, which said, among other things, that the UB had 225 available desks.
UB spokesperson Babette Knauer, however, says there are currently only seventy desks available. ‘That number is sufficient at this time.’
So how many study spots are there exactly? How many are needed? And who is even allowed to use them? Student assessor to the university board Teun Havinga confirms that people at the university are confused. ‘It’s a really complicated situation.’
This isn’t helped by the lack of a university-wide definition of ‘vulnerable’. The Committee of Educational Strategy has been asked to formulate a clear definition that applies to everyone. ‘That will allow us and the faculties to be in line with each other’, says Klein Nagelvoort.
A decision on the definition is expected this week, but Havinga says there will still be room for interpretation. ‘It won’t be just a short definition.’ But, he adds, ‘at least it will give study advisers something to hold on to’.
He also feels the situation concerning emergency study spots should be addressed. ‘People often talk about the space available at the UB, but I think we should be looking at the number of vulnerable students and go from there.’