It’s that time of year again, from the 16th until the 19th of May you will be able to cast your votes in the online student elections. Students have two votes, one for the University Council and one for the Faculty Council. Students exercise their right to vote by choosing between lists of candidates on the university website. After the votes are tallied, each party gets a proportional share of the seats depending on their vote share. The total number of seats for student representatives are 10 on the University Council and 9 on the FHML Faculty Councils.
The University Council is the political body composed of students and staff that acts mainly as an advisory body to the university executive board. The Council also has some more specific powers such as the power of consent to the 6-year strategy of the university. The Faculty Council acts in a similar capacity but within a faculty level, they are also more granular in their competencies and have an impact on the curriculum as well as student life in the faculty. For more information on how these bodies work and what they do you can read our article Student Politics 101.
This year at FHML there are two lists running on the Faculty council, NovUM and MSRP DOPE, with both parties holding seats on the council currently. This is one less party than ran last year, as SHAPE is not running a candidate on the council meaning that there are three seats currently unclaimed. So without much further delay let’s take a gander at the two parties.
List 1 - NovUM NovUM, the only single party that currently holds seats in every Faculty Council and the University Council is running 7 candidates in the FHML faculty council race this year. Novum brands itself as the progressive party and constructs its policy and action around four pillars: Housing, Education, Sustainability, and Internationalism. These pillars guide the party in both the Faculty and University Councils. This years list leader is the same as last year. Yasemin Kaya (currently NovUM’s sole sitting councillor) takes their place at the top of the list joined by Yesim Kaya, Mahrukh Akhtar, Eveline Van Eerd, Ena Škrijelj, Metra Daliry, and Amien Abid. On their Faculty Manifesto they outline 5 points that they wish to pursue in the upcoming year, elaborating on them on the FHML NovUM Instagram.
Firstly, Education Quality, NovUM wants to reevaluate EPASS and wants to ensure uniformity by having the course coordinator provide bullet points for the course. They also want to keep pushing for the implementation of recorded lectures and making sure that everyone has a better understanding of human anatomy.
Secondly, Employability and Extracurricular Skills and Learning, where they seek to provide students with more opportunities, through workshops and interfaculty collaboration, in obtaining skills. NovUM also wants to provide better guidance for students who want to set up new initiatives, and work on creating more flexibility in the timetables to encourage students to take up more board positions. Finally they wish to redesign the FHML internship portal and provide a clearer overview of offered opportunities.
Thirdly, Diversity, proposing to diversify the curriculum through a larger variety in PBL cases and through diversifying course material in order to teach a more intersectional approach in regards to diagnosis, treatment and patient contact. Additionally, proposing that student advisors and mentors are provided with diversity training and to raise awareness of neurodivergence within FHML, in order to provide better support for students.
Fourthly, under Student Wellbeing, NovUM means to recenter wellbeing as a priority. They mean to achieve this by increased accessibility to UM mental health facilities, the implementation of reflection weeks/days, reduced workload, and better coordination on deadlines between course coordinators. Fifth and finally, Internationalism, NovUM wants the faculty to better market the European Public Health program to prospective students. They also wish to work on the UM level to diversify the INKOM events, focusing on cultural exchange events, and by making student associations more accessible to masters students. Overall, NovUM has an ambitious program, is it however realistic? Considering that the manifesto for the most part does stay within the purview of the faculty council and NovUM is well spread out over the other councils it is a feasible program. It all depends on how committed the candidates are in fulfilling it.
List 2 - MSRP DOPE
MSRP DOPE, a party that sits on the University Council and all Faculty Councils save FASoS, is running 9 candidates this year at FHML. Last year’s list leaders are at the end of this year's list, meaning that for the most part there would be no continuation unless it is a full wipe out for DOPE (an unlikely scenario). This year, Cato Laquet leads the list, followed by Fien Blok, Ruth van Valderen, Casper Hodac, Luuk Peters, Jip Swanenvleugel, Méraud van Eijck, Jort Simons, and last years list leader Joosje Stufkens. DOPE styles itself as a party of professionalism and a guardian of the quality of education at UM with national ties. While it may not have pillars it has a Party Vision where it outlines safeguarding education, better digitalisation, dealing with the capacity issues of a growing university, and continuing the work on better integration of international students. DOPE may not have a manifesto but they have published a short Faculty Program on their instagram alongside a couple of paragraphs on the election website and in the Observant’s election edition. However it seems that, at the time of writing, their own website still hasn’t been updated with this year's program, with the elections page showing last year's program. This doesn’t play well for a party that prides itself on professionalism. DOPE’s program focuses on a few parts, firstly to prioritise student wellbeing, citing the Covid pandemic as still of serious concern in that regard. They also want to reform and improve exam preparation emphasising the importance of guidelines and of adequate practice material. DOPE also wants more distributed resit weeks. Another concrete point by DOPE is the extension of the XXL opening hours of Randwyck and the food corners, to facilitate studying and provide a possibility for dinners at students’ convenience. The rest of DOPE’s proposals are in line with its mission statement, to focus on the quality of education. By pushing for better, more stricter, tutor selection with trials and interim feedback, to better the overall quality of tutorials. In the same vein they wish to create more study spaces at FHML, proposing courtyard picnic tables as a starting point. The final issue that DOPE has on its agenda is working with the faculty to foster better international ties to improve the availability of interesting international and national exchange programs and/or joint minor/research programs.
These goals are very much within the purview of the Faculty Council, the only one that may need University Council support may be Randwyck XXL times, which DOPE is well placed for as the oldest and largest UM party. However, are there members committed enough to push through on their proposals?
With 9 seats up for grabs and one of the more elevated Faculty Council election participation rates with ¼ of FHML students voting in 2021, this could be one of the more interesting Faculty Council Elections! Go Vote!