News - March 4, 2004

‘International students should sit on the Student Council’

The Dutch Student Council and the International Student Panel agree that international and Dutch students should join forces for the student participation body. Both parties want international students to become members of the Student Council.

University Rector Professor Bert Speelman is also in favour of international students becoming members of the Student Council (studentenraad). Speelman would like to see them enter the council through the existing student parties. “Students who spend five years here studying know more about the workings of the university than students who only come here to do a Master’s. By integrating the short-stay students in the existing parties, the knowledge problem can be tackled.” Speelman is also willing to provide all university policy information in English. Up to now the international students have been represented by the foreign student consultation group, delegates from ISP who can express their concerns to the Executive Board.

Dutch Student Council members are exempted from following university courses during the one year period of office. They receive a grant of a maximum of 400 euros a month from the university. As this would not be enough for foreign students to survive, other funding possibilities need to be sought. The Executive Board and the Student Council will also examine how to deal with visa problems that may arise as a result of international Student Council members having to extend their stay in the Netherlands.

All student parties are currently looking for new Student Council members for the year 2004 – 2005. “So far, unfortunately, no international students have shown any interest in joining us next year,” says Jos Käfer of the Progressive Student Faction (PSF).

Guido van Hofwegen