Wetenschap - 19 september 2002

English summary

The international student organisations in Wageningen, ISP and ISOW are to be placed on the list of groups entitled to grants for being on a committee.

The Student Council made a formal plea together with ISOW chair Arun Mishra to the University Board. Last year only the chair of ISP was awarded one of these grants, and for two months only. Placement on the list should mean a structural change in line with Wageningen's stance on internationalisation, but Mishra remains sceptical. More on the matter next week in a Wisp'r special.

Chairman of the Board of Wageningen UR Aalt Dijkhuizen has been in the news over the last weeks for his comment during the opening of the academic year about government budget cuts for higher education.

He made a plea to universities stop complaining and first ensure that their own affairs are in order. Reactions during a meeting of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands varied. Board member Yvonne van Rooy described Wageningen as an exception as far as Dutch universities go, as it now offers more postgraduate education, and the focus on life sciences makes it easier to get money for contract research. Nevertheless she argued, we should not lose sight of the fact that universities are public institutions. Support for Dijkhuizen came from departing chairman of the Technical University in Eindhoven, Dr Henk de Wilt, who agrees that complaining is not the way to go about things. He sees room for collaboration between universities, especially to maintain the infrastructure for high-level research, rather than each university going its own way.

Molecular Sciences undergraduate Irene Melis jumped out of a first floor window of the Transitorium last May, ending up with two broken ankles and a spinal fracture.

She was the last person in the building one evening, having returned to work on a large database. When the pass she had borrowed failed to open the door, rather than calling the emergency services she went in search of another way out, which ended up being an open window on the first floor. Fortunately Theo Fonteijn, who works for the technical division of the university, found Melis when he was walking his dog and stayed with her until an ambulance came. It is likely to be a year before Melis can walk again.

Rikilt laboratory analyst Rob Bakker had a human interest story with a more positive note to tell Wb correspondent Lydia Wubbenhorst this week.

Bakker, who does histological research on the effect of hormones in meat, rubbed shoulders with the famous on a visit to New York last year. Through contacts there he acquired a press card to an event at the Virgin Store where Michael Jackson was promoting his new album. His first reaction was 'Ah, poor thing, he's so shy and timid!' which caused Bakker to throw caution to the wind, walk up to Jackson, shake his hand and wish him success for the new release. The star replied 'Oh, you are so kind!' much to the chagrin of the other media people there who felt upstaged by a mere onlooker.

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