Student - April 29, 2016

VU is only university without student council election in 2016

Rob Ramaker

For the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam there are not enough candidates this year for a student council election. It seems to be incidental as the elections at other universities are running smoothly.

This became clear after Resource asked around. Next week it will become clear what the situation is like in Wageningen when the election lists of the student parties are determined.

‘Outrageous’, read the headline of the university magazine Ad valvas of the Free University (VU) at the start of April. For the first time in history no student council elections are held. The two student parties managed to only find eight candidates for nine seats. Both parties mainly blame the introduction of the loan system because of which first year students do not receive study financing. Also local student organizations would be suffering from this change.

This reduction in interest does not seem to have a national trend. All other Dutch universities have normal elections. Only in Rotterdam the number of candidates strongly decreased. Last year there were 34 candidates, this year only 22. This means that some faculties have little to choose from and one faculty even has no candidates at all. The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is getting ready for a busy campaign with more parties and participants; as result of the widely publicised uprising last year at the university.

All other Dutch Universities have normal elections.

In other cities the elections are not really different compared to previous years. The battle between the two (Delft, Maastricht, Utrecht, Eindhoven) or three (Tilburg, Groningen, Nijmegen, Enschede) or four (Amsterdam-UvA, Leiden) parties usually have enough candidates – or at least almost – to fil the available seats.

In practice higher positions sometimes occupied by last candidates on a party list without actually joining the council. This happened for example two years ago in Wageningen when student party VeSte had won a seat ‘too much’ which was then ceded to S&I. It is difficult to know how often this happens because parties are not always open about this. The elections in Tilburg was strikingly open about this subject this year; the top candidate of the party indicated before the elections that he would not take part of the council.

Also in Wageningen there were a couple of years in which too few candidates were available to hold elections. In 2008, 2009 and 2012 there was nothing to choose from. Since 2013 elections have been held every year, with three parties now.