Student - December 11, 2008

STUDENTS PROTEST AGAINST LEEUWENBORCH LIBRARY MOVE

The majority of social sciences students at Wageningen UR do not want to lose the Leeuwenborch library, according to an enquiry carried out by Ipso-Facto and Mercurius. The study associations have collected over 440 signatures against the collection and study facilities being moved to Forum.

According to the plan, eight hundred square metres of space have to be cleared in the Leeuwenborch if sufficient space is to be made available for teaching by 2012. In addition to building a second Forum on the campus, this plan also involves making teaching space available in other buildings. One of the decisions the Executive Board has made is therefore to move the Leeuwenborch library to Forum.

This is bad for the students, say the study associations. ‘If the books move to Forum, many of them will be put into the archives’, says Imke van Asseldonk, an Ipso-Facto representative. ‘Many books will no longer be freely accessible, but this is really important for social sciences students.’

‘We also have difficulty with the fact that there’s no definite plan yet for what will happen with the space that is freed up by moving the library’, adds Roy Michielsen of Mercurius. ‘There’s no guarantee yet that good new study facilities will be provided for students so they have space to study quietly or write up a thesis.’

The plan is still being discussed by the Central Works Representative Council, which has advisory powers. The study associations are calling on all students to attend the meeting on the subject, which will be held on Friday 12 December. Van Asseldonk: ‘We intend to voice our opinion and present the signatures.’ Michielsen adds: ‘This is our last opportunity for students to voice their opinion,’ says Michielsen. ‘The decision-making process has gone really quickly, and as a result the parties involved have not been properly consulted.’

The Social Sciences Group (SSG) management board has acknowledged the students’ dissatisfaction in a letter, saying that they are very committed to maintaining an attractive Leeuwenborch and an optimal study environment. They add that they are holding discussions with all parties so that they can live up to their commitments, and that an extra construction survey also needs to be carried out. This will take time, but they are confident that the matter will be resolved.

Spokesman Simon Vink says that the Executive Board supports the approach that SSG is taking and will wait to hear the solutions they come up with.

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