Nieuws - 27 november 2009

'Students are just citizens'

City council members held a debate on Wednesday on the extent to which students are also citizens of a city. 'Score less in studies if necessary.'

The housing shortage turned out to be the major sore spot in the debate in the Wageningen public library. Since the city council may allocate space for social housing, it should include cheap space for student accommodation as well. Harald van Roekel of the Stadspartij pleaded for putting aside thirty percent of the land available for building for social housing, a portion of which would be for students.
Another issue was the dangerous bicycle route along the Bornsesteeg. Michiel Uitdehaag of D66: 'A good infrastructure should come first, and only afterwards, the buildings.' 
Youth society Unitas shouldn't count on support from the council members, to avoid unfair competition. D66 was the one who raised the objection: 'The municipality shouldn't compete with the other societies by helping Unitas. There are others on the waiting list for accommodation subsidies too; how can we be accountable if Unitas gets priority? 
The three council members made short work of the main proposition. PvdA member Karin Horsman: 'We want to move away from the target group mentality.' Students should therefore be considered as normal citizens in future.
A comment rose from the public that the political parties should actively attract students to join them, to counter the current under-representation. The politicians argued that integration within politics, and also with Wageningen peers, would solve most of the problems related to students. The council member of GroenLinks contended that politics has much to offer: 'Score less in studies if necessary and chalk up more experience in politics; you'll find this more useful later in your work.' 
A poll was carried out concerning the proposition: 'Without students, Wageningen is not a city.' Three hundred and fifty people responded. Here are the results:
Correct, students are indispensable for a dynamic city - 59%
Correct, but students are mostly troublemakers - 4%
Incorrect, even without students, Wageningen is an attractive city - 19%
Incorrect, even without students, Wageningen is a village - 18%