The student movement New University Wageningen is thinking of setting up its own ‘independent mouthpiece’. This wish was expressed at the first meeting of the new movement on Wednesday 1 April.
Participants in the meeting thought Resource could never be independent because the magazine and website are funded by the university. Ideas were put forward for launching an independent mouthpiece to be run by and for students.
This was just one of the ideas that came out of the first meeting of New University Wageningen, a movement which follows in the footsteps of New Universities in other university towns. The same group of Wageningen students was involved earlier in protests related to the occupation of the Maagdenhuis in Amsterdam and the dialogue with the rector which followed it. About 40 students held an open and constructive discussion last Wednesday related to five ‘concerns’: besides the issue of Resource’s independence, these were conflicts of interest caused by the business world’s role in research, the degree of democracy at the university, its results-focussed approach and the need for more multidisciplinarity in teaching and in research. The ‘Droef’ factor was high, judging by the dreadlocks and baggy trousers present, but there were also student council members, teachers and other interested parties present.
A few striking things came out of the meeting. There appeared to be some dissatisfaction with the dialogue with the rector. Although the fact that he entered into talks with students was appreciated, many of those who attended felt it was not really a dialogue because many of their points were smoothly parried by the rector and there was not much space for diverging views. It was also noted that many of the participants were ill-informed about how the university is run, so that it is not clear to them how democratic it really is and what you can do if you have criticisms. That information gap should be filled as soon as possible, it was agreed, probably with the help of the student council members. Such ideas are now being developed further by the group.
Stay up-to-date on the developments through the Facebook page. Look for: De Nieuwe Universiteit Wageningen.