Today, there is a demonstration planned in The Hague to protest against the measures of Halbe Zijlstra for students who take too long. The turnout will not be that big if the signs from a trip round campus yesterday are anything to go by.
Joske: 'A demonstration? Oh, is that tomorrow? No, we can't go because we have lectures tomorrow. Mind you, I don't think we can stop these measures any more with this demonstration. That's a shame, as the extra tuition fees for students who take too long will hit us too. We are all doing two Master's and that means we will take longer than the nominal period. It will mean a big increase in our student debt but that won't stop us doing it anyway. And when I see the demonstration tomorrow on the TV? Yes, I think I will feel a little bit guilty.'
Jasper, second-year in Soil, Water and Atmosphere
‘Demonstration? I didn't realize. I was there last time in the Malieveld Park. But you can't really influence things much anymore. Everything has already been decided, the only thing left to determine is the implementation so there is not much point any more in a demonstration. I don't think it'll affect me personally. I am a second-year and I don't have any ambition to serve on a committee. But I still think the measure is ridiculous. The demonstration in The Hague was fun even though not all speakers were that good. But perhaps it was fairly pointless even then. Perhaps Zijlstra was watching it and thought to himself: whatever.'
Ewoud, fourth-year in Economics and Policy, and Niels, fourth-year in Biotechnology (Student Council members)
'No, we have a meeting with the Student Council so we can't go. On top of that, there were 20,000 of us demonstrating in The Hague on 21 January. That was a really clear signal but it didn't lead to anything. There is not much point in doing the same thing all over again. We are now concentrating much more on the substantive discussion, such as the question of whether it is even legal to give current students a fine for studying too long. The national students union (LSVb) has made a pretty convincing case that this would be inequality before the law. We are betting more on the political process now. But that still means we give the demonstration tomorrow our full support.'
Soline, first-year in Communication Science
‘No. I did hear about it but I won't be going. I've got exams next week and still have to do a lot for that. I probably will feel the effects of the measures for students who take too long; I am only a first-year and I do like doing other things besides my study. Only I do take a more critical look now at the time involved. I think I could become an active member of KSV or SSR. I would really prefer to do something for VeSte, I find that more interesting and it is a better match with my study. But that would cost just a bit too much time.'
Heleen, first-year in Biology (no photo)
‘What demonstration? Like in January? I nearly took part in that. I was in the train on the way to The Hague when my friend became sick all of a sudden. Throwing up and everything. So in the end when we got to Den Haag Centraal we immediately turned round and got the train home. But I won't be able to have a second go tomorrow: I have got lectures, even a practical, I believe. I don't think there is much point either, this Cabinet is so self-assured about what it wants. Even so, I hope the measures don't go through. I am trying to keep my student debt as small as possible. I reckon something will have gone seriously wrong if I end up with a debt of more than ten thousand euros. Yes, that could affect whether I decide to take a Master's, or an extra Master's.'