Nieuws - 17 juni 2011

Protesting students block Gaia

Some thirty students of Environmental Sciences blocked the entrance to Gaia at noon yesterday to demand for sufficient work places for their graduation year; these places should also be big enough.

Currently, MSc students of Landscape Architecture have to reserve work places in advance, months before their graduation period. BSc students are not given any places at all and have to do their work at home or in the library. The students fear that the situation will become worse when the administration centre moves to Atlas at the end of December, which will require the department to give up a lot of space. 
The protest action was organized by student union WSO, with help from the five study clubs of Environmental Sciences: Genius Loci, Nitocra, Aktief Slip, Pyrus and Sylvatica. Auke de Bruin of the management team of Environmental Sciences, who inspected the situation in the lobby at Gaia, promised that every student will soon have a place to work in. 'We envisage Gaia to become a more dynamic building which will have more flexi-workplaces. In this way, BSc students in their final year would be able to do their work at places meant for visiting staff in periods when Environmental Sciences does not have so many visiting staff members.'
The students also brought up the issue of the size of the work areas, which should have a norm of four square metres per student. Environmental Sciences students, however, have a lot of maps to construct and need space to work these out and for storage. The demonstrators sat with their books and maps in 2-by-2 areas demarcated by tape to show how cramped the space is.  De Bruin declares that the size of the work places is in keeping with the norm established by the accommodation taskforce. 'Furthermore, the norm has been raised from 650 square metres to 800 square metres at the insistence of the employees' council of Environmental Sciences.'
The employees' council of Environmental Sciences, which was also represented at the demonstration, had given a negative advice earlier concerning the move; one of the reasons for this is the concern about the number of workplaces for both students and employees.