News - January 25, 2007

Workers join students in new building protest

Employees of Wageningen UR joined in the action started by students about the new buildings on the Born campus, on Monday 22 January. They were supported by managers responsible for the moving operation. In their opinion, the problems surrounding the move are partly due to the ineffective role of the Executive Board.

The student union WSO and student council fraction PSF had hung up banners in the Atlas building. During the meeting they served soup and organised games. The action was intended to draw attention to the shortage of special work spaces for students writing their theses, coffee areas, and the way students have not been informed about the moving arrangements.

A group of employees that sympathises with the students’ worries had organised a lunch in the hall. They mentioned the lack of parking space on the new campus, unsafe footbridges and the absence of an eating area in Atlas.

Wim Cofino, scientific manager of the Centre for Water and Climate, and Wallie Hoogendoorn, business manager at Environmental Sciences, indicated in their speeches that solutions have already been found for some of the problems. A mistaken estimate made in 2004 has resulted in too few spaces for thesis writers in Atlas, they said. But the groups of graduating students will be better divided over Atlas and Lumen, and a meeting room in Atlas will be made available as well. An ‘interior design committee’ is also looking at how to adapt the hall so that it becomes suitable for personnel and students to lunch.

The lack of parking space and bad outside lighting are the responsibility of the Executive Board, Cofino and Hoogendoorn indicated. The long-drawn-out process of making the slippery footbridges and stairways in Atlas safe is also a result of the Executive Board’s ineffective performance.

Tijs Breukink, representing the Executive Board at the meeting, said that more parking spaces would be created behind Forum and Plant Research International. And when the move is over, the board will look again whether there is enough room for cars. Breukink also said that safety in Atlas would be dealt with quickly.

Breukink admitted that communication to the students had been lacking, and that technical problems were the cause. An interactive website will be launched on 1 February and all students will receive an e-mail with information about the move. Coffee space and lunch facilities will have to wait until April, when Forum opens, said Breukink.