On trains and buses hundreds of Wageningen students converged on The Hague on 21 January to make their voices heard against the plans of Halbe Zijlstra. Who were these students actually? And what do they want?
Business and consumer sciences, 3rd year
'I'm taking the bus to The Hague to protest against the cuts the cabinet is proposing. I think it will be a fun day out together. This is something new for me. I have never demonstrated before, so I'm also going along today for the experience. I haven't had any extensions on my studies up to now, and if I do end up with any I think it will be within the limits of one year. I hope the government listens and thinks twice about the proposals.'
Arvid de Rijck
Soil, water and atmosphere, 2nd year
'Ridiculous, a fine of 3,000 euros for active students. Being active is an investment in yourself and in society. Students who do nothing and take eight years to get a degree deserve a fine, I think. But then it is still strange to fine the universities as well, to the tune of 3,000 euros. I have some delay because I worked on the KSV yearbook last year. I hope that this demonstration will lead to new regulations by which people who work on committees and in student society management get extra time for their studies.'
Biology, 8th year
'It is ridiculous that students who have already embarked on their studies are affected by these plans as well. I am busy with my Master's internship myself, so I am not affected. Otherwise I would have been a victim too: I had some delay because of long-term illness, four months on the introduction committee at Ceres and a couple of wrong choices of course. I hope these cuts will not be carried out or that at least those who are already studying won't be affected.'
Petra van Dijk
Animal Sciences, 4th year
'I am here to protest against cuts and fines. Why? Because it is stupid that people who want to develop themselves further by being active in student life are rewarded with a fine.' I have already taken extra time over my studies because I was in the activities committee at my student society SSR-W. Now I am also working fulltime on the board of Thymos. Those two activities mean fourteen months extra time. I have also been on the board of Aquarius, an association under the umbrella of 'de Veeteelers'. I still need about thirty ECT points for my Bachelor's. So my extra time is 'legal' according to the university, but not according to the cabinet.'
Landscape Architecture, 2nd year
'I'm here to protest alongside my housemates and fellow student society members. I have taken two extra years over my studies because I have switched courses twice, and I don't want to pay 3,000 euros for that. I came by train today for the fun of it, to have a beer. But also because I hope it will have an impact, that would be great. But to be honest, I doubt it.'