Another year, another round of FASoS student elections. But what exactly are these elections about? Well, I’m here to give you an overview.
Each year, Maastricht University students can vote for their favourite representative for both their respective Faculty Council and the University Council. If you’re a FASoS student like me, this means that you will be able to cast two votes in total: one for the FASoS Faculty Council and one for the University Council. If you want more information about how student politics at Maastricht University work, check out this article.
Now, what is the role of the Faculty Council? It is composed of both students and staff which discuss various faculty-related matters. Besides giving advice to the Faculty Board, it is also asked by the Board for consent when it comes to both faculty as well as education and examination regulations. A more detailed overview of the Faculty Council’s duties and rights can be found in the UM Administrative and Management Regulations.
By voting in the upcoming student elections (16th–19th May 2022), you as a student have the power to express your support for the one candidate you think would make the best representative in the Faculty Council. Last year, every third person voted in the student elections at FASoS, which was more than at any other faculty. Let’s see whether we FASoS students will be able to keep this position for our faculty this year!
Last year, there were four running parties: MSRP DOPE, KAN Party, United Students of Maastricht (USM) and NovUM. After the elections, the five available seats for the student representatives of the Faculty Council were filled as follows:
2 seats for KAN
2 seats for NovUM
1 seat for USM
For the upcoming elections, KAN and USM decided to form a coalition. Here’s what this year’s three running parties present as their main priorities for the FASoS Faculty Council Elections 2022.
List 1 - KAN Party & United Students of Maastricht (USM)
With 14 candidates (with most of them being BSc Global Studies students), the coalition between KAN and USM represents the longest list in this year’s FASoS Faculty elections. KAN Party’s motto is “We work towards climate justice, together.” and USM is calling itself “UM’s most international student representative party”.
Now what do they want to get done? While the official UM webpage dedicated to the KAN & USM list is nearly empty, KAN outlines six pillars on the KAN website upon which they base their work in the student councils: Collaboration, Social Responsibility, Education for the future, Transparency, Diversity & Inclusivity and University & Well-being. The party’s 2021 Manifesto provides more details and clear demands regarding these pillars. When reading through the candidates’ election statements published on KAN’s Instagram page, I notice that the desire to push for more climate action and sustainability at UM is mentioned by everyone. With candidates Helena San Vincente and Charlotte Lenhard talking about their past achievements in the Faculty Council as KAN representatives, especially regarding the Sustainability Platform, it is clear that this list is committed to a green agenda.
Besides sustainability, candidates such as Alina Timoșenco and Helena San Vincente advocate for more inclusivity and diversity. Noa Sara Lehmann and Christopher Cherakakis furthermore want to take action towards better mental health care. Nele Adolphsen ends her statement with her wish of helping the FASoS to “become a socially conscious, inclusive and sustainable community”, a formulation also used last year, as you can see in our 2021 FASoS Faculty elections article. One candidate, Raphael Harnett, kept his statement very short, stating: “I believe that ‘there ain’t no power like the power of the students cuz the power of the students don’t stop!’.
Since USM does not appear to have a website and has also not been posting much about the elections on their social media, it is hard to find information on USM’s platforms. But KAN Party provides clear information about the election campaign, both on their website as well as on their social media. KAN also uploaded a couple of posts about previous collaborative projects between KAN Party and USM.
List 2 - NovUM
For this year’s FASoS Faculty elections, NovUM assembled 11 candidates whose motto is “Don’t hope for change, vote for it!” Unlike the other parties running this year, NovUM does not only present their general values and objectives for the upcoming academic year, but has also developed faculty-specific manifestos. The three topics cited in the party’s FASoS manifesto are internationalism, sustainability and education. Amongst others, NovUM wants a stronger sense of community at FASoS, positive incentives regarding sustainability and a safer environment when it comes to issues of diversity and mental health. The party proposes ideas for future policies, also in recent posts on NovUM’s FASoS-specific Instagram page.
Concerning the candidate’s election statements, it is noteworthy to mention that they are structured differently than the statements of List 1. Instead of written texts, each candidate sticks to 2-3 priorities in the form of bullet points. While the candidates Dylan Van Seijmonsbergen and Niklas Erkes put forward their wish for a stronger community-feeling at the faculty, Olsi Sokolli and Morayo Ifafoye also emphasise the need for clearer communication within the faculty. Objectives regarding sustainability are mentioned by several candidates, in particular Mara Sandru. Some candidates also express their wish for stronger cooperation between the university and the municipality regarding housing. This comes as a surprise, since FASoS – limited by its status of only being a faculty – does not have much power over the housing situation in Maastricht.
List 3 - MSRP DOPE
With only three candidates DOPE has the shortest list for the 2022 FASoS Faculty elections. The party’s slogan is “Vote DOPE for a better UM tomorrow and according to a recent Instagram post, the abbreviation DOPE stands for four Dutch words which, translated into English, mean ”professional”, “independent, “pragmatic” and “unity”.
The three candidates Frederike de Lorijn, Milan Beun and Ana Vodnik have developed five goals for next academic year which have recently been shared on their Instagram. DOPE’s priorities concern mostly the topic of education. The FASoS candidates’ objectives include working towards increased accessibility to course materials and lectures, improvement regarding the 5th semester, establishing student committees for each programme and having inclusivity tutors. The post does not further specify how they want to achieve these goals.
On DOPE’s website, the collective election statement of the three candidates further includes topics such as better communication between the students and the Faculty Council, more transparency and clarity concerning curricula, language policies and internships and creating a closer community at FASoS. Concerning wellbeing, they propose more accessibility to student psychologists or mentors. On the UM website, they also advocate for “more awareness on inclusivity regarding gender identities”, but do not explain how they want to do this. Finally, it is interesting to note that DOPE’s demands are quite similar to last year’s. In contrast to the other two parties, the topic of sustainability is not mentioned in the election campaign of DOPE’s FASoS candidates.
Has one party convinced you with their programme? Vote between 16th and 19th May 2022.