News - June 30, 2012

VHL students angered

A group of VHL students met yesterday afternoon in the Forum to discuss the split in Wageningen UR. They had no idea at all that unbundling hung in the air. Nor had they been informed about this officially.

VHL students listen to Geartsje Oosterhof.
Angry, resentful and emotional. This was how VHL students reacted when they met yesterday afternoon in the Forum. They had read with surprise an article on the Resource site the day before that VHL and Wageningen UR are splitting up. A snap decision was made for a meeting. Geartsje Osterhof, department head at VHL Wageningen, seized this chance to officially inform in particular the first year students and to answer questions. 'VHL will remain as one university of applied sciences,' she stressed. 'We will remain in Wageningen. Moreover, nothing much will change for the students in practice, because we will continue to cooperate with the university. Aalt Dijkhuizen will see to this.'
International students, in particular, were not aware of the problems which led to the split. 'We are very angry and frustrated that we have not been informed,' said Emma from England. 'All the international students are considering stopping their studies.'
The frustration of VHL students in Wageningen appeared to be much higher than that in the other VHL locations because a much larger number of them are from overseas. They have come to study in VHL because of its link with Wageningen UR, which is much more well-known back home. They find it distressing that this may not be reflected on their diplomas.
'If I have a WUR diploma in Croatia or Serbia, I can get a job straightaway,' explained Nicolaï from Serbia. 'My choice is based on this notion, but everything has changed now.'
Dimitris from Greece was afraid that he would lose the use of facilities such as the laboratories in the Forum. 'I have chosen this course of study purposely because of the links with the university. I have left my country and my language. I have made an investment for four years. Everything is now gone in one day, the last day before the vacation.'
Despite the vacation, the students will be taking action. No matter what, they want to have a talk with the executive board to make their views known.  But they are realistic about their chances: 'We can't change the decision, but we have to make the best of it.'