University Council Update – February 2023

The third University Council of this academic year has taken place, and Student Party SAM has worked hard to represent you in the council. Topics such as student housing, blended learning, and social safety are of high importance to us, so we were glad to see these on the agenda of this cycle. All plans received positive advice from the council. If there are things you would like to see changed at the university, please send your ideas and input to us!

One of the topics on the agenda was student housing. The university takes responsibility for trying to find student housing for its students and presents these measures to us. There are currently a couple of projects running to build new housing units, such as at Reitseplein, Spoorzone, and Meerkoldreef. The expected finishing time of these projects varies from 1-10 years. Furthermore, they are focussing on finding short-term solutions, such as supporting Student Housing Tilburg, providing spaces in Hostel Roots, and subletting a room from a student temporarily leaving for a foreign country to an incoming international student. Regarding SHT, currently, eight hosts and 40 students have applied, and five matches have already been made. We will keep promoting this in order to spread the word in order to house all students in need.

Another topic on the agenda was a socially safe learning and working environment. The university wants to create a socially safe learning and working environment for its students and staff members. A document was created with a lot of plans to accomplish this. Topics of this include building trust and open dialogue, developing skills, diversity, and inclusion (D&I), prevention, and early warning. The university will develop a central meeting point, where everyone with complaints and problems can go, no matter how big or small. This is expected to make it easier for people to find where to go and lower the threshold. 

Moreover, the topic of blended learning was discussed. The university is going to start letting professors make their courses more blended. SAM has always been in favor of blended education, and we are happy to see that it is finally being implemented. We think the lessons learned during the pandemic regarding hybrid and blended learning should not be forgotten but instead used to improve the quality of education. Furthermore, we expressed our concern regarding work pressure and the feasibility of the plan. The Executive Board has promised to keep the council informed. 

Furthermore, due to inflation, the institutional tuition fees for the academic year 2025/2026 for Bachelor programs and 2024/2025 for Master programs will go up by approximately 9,6%. For the Global Law Bachelor of TLS, the institutional tuition fee will be reduced as of the academic year 2023/2024.

The last point is that a new research infrastructure is going to be developed. We asked the board to be critical regarding the balance between open science and knowledge safety. The university said they are taking this into account. 

Lastly, the Executive Board said they are concerned about the situation in Turkey and Syria. Their thoughts go out to everyone affected by the earthquakes. A small working group has been set up to coordinate actions. Furthermore, a group of students sent a letter to the Executive Board. They promised to get back to those students.

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