For the first time in years, the staff section of the university council has a new party: Kwaliteit Voorop (Quality First). The one-man faction set up by computer science professor Nicolai Petkov received enough votes for a seat.
No one yet knows what Petkov hopes to achieve with his new party. He was not present at the announcement of the election results at the Academy building on Monday.
Besides Petkov, the personnel faction also won an extra seat, growing to nine seats on the council. The science faction went from four to two seats.
Within the student section, there were only minor shifts. Student Organisation Groningen (six seats this year) lost a seat to Lijst Calimero (four seats this year), bringing both parties to five seats next academic year. De Vrije Student (DVS) retained its two seats.
Although DVS did not increase its number of seats on the university council, the party did grow in several faculties. DVS is the only party that is also active on a faculty level and won a seat on the Faculty of Science and Engineering council for the first time this year.
The party also managed to increase its number of seats in medical sciences from one to three. On the arts faculty council, DVS retained its two seats. Only on the economics and business faculty council did DVS go from two seats to one.
‘We finally got a seat at FSE’, says Bastiaan Hoks, DVS party leader for the university council. ‘At the medical faculty, it was a bit of a coincidence. We had signed up three people and because there were exactly enough candidates for the council, there were no elections and all three got a seat. So there was also a bit of luck involved there.’
According to Hoks, DVS wants to push the party line of flexibility everywhere throughout the university. ‘Like being able to watch lectures back online; not as a substitute, but a week before exams’, he says. ‘And beyond that, of course, you have individual issues per faculty, so we then leave that to the members who are on those faculties.’
Turnout this year was, on average, slightly higher than last year. 22.06 percent of students voted for the university council, only a small increase from last year’s 20.55 percent. Board president Jouke de Vries still called it a ‘win for democracy’.
There was also a turnout increase within the faculties, usually several percentage points’ worth. Only at Campus Fryslân did student turnout fall from 53.11 percent last year to 49.34 percent this year. This still makes the overall turnout there the second highest of all faculties.
Overall, 38.32 percent of employees voted for the personnel section of the university council this year. The full results of the elections can be found here.