The rules for the election of PhD candidates to the WUR Council may be revised. Currently at least half of Wageningen’s PhD candidates lack voting rights.
The elections two weeks ago were the first time PhD candidates were able to elect their representatives on the council. In previous years there were always the same number of candidates as seats. 990 PhD candidates received a call to vote, whereas there are about 1900 PhD candidates in Wageningen. Resource asked the election committee whether the elections were still valid.
The election committee set up an investigation and came up with a positive answer. ‘There are five types of PhD researchers at the university: research assistants, sandwich PhD candidates, guest PhD candidates, external PhD candidates and staff member who are doing a PhD,’ explains Linda Veldhuizen, member of the election committee and herself a PhD candidate at Animal Production Systems. ‘According to the regulations, only the first two groups have voting rights. The staff members already have voting rights for the Student-Staff Council and the guest and external PhD candidates are primarily employed elsewhere.’
Veldhuizen does think it would be wise to review the regulations. There may be some external PhD candidates, for instance, who spend most of their time here. ‘You could question whether that group shouldn’t get to vote too.’