Group update November

Every month we will share an update from the group on the website. In this update, the group explains what is going on within the USR, which issues have come up in the Joint Assembly and what asap’s opinion is.

The first exams are finished and so is the second cycle. With this update we keep you informed about what we have been working on last month. For example, the second cycle has again held committee meetings: the Joint Assembly and the Closing Meeting. Next to to these formal fixed meetings, we did a workshop ‘How to read a budget?’ to prepare ourselves for the December cycle. The December cycle will focus on the university’s budget. In this update we would like to discuss and clarify the following points with you: a number of issues discussed in the Joint Assembly with in particular the Hybrid Energy Network (HEN ++) and the loss of the Catholic identity. 

Academic minor Dutch Language and Culture
The Rector, Han van Krieken, visited the committee meetings to react to the USR’s memo on an academic minor Dutch Language and Culture, which was initiated by asap. Both the Executive Board and the Works Council were very positive about the minor and the minor will start in September 2021. As group, we are very pleased that the response to the memo has been so positive and we would like to thank former group member Thom Teulings for developing this memo.  

Increase of tuition fee for non-EEA students 
A second point discussed with the Rector was about the evaluation criteria for the scholarship program, the increase in institutional tuition fees in 2021-2022 for non-EEA students (students from outside the EU). The USR has been critical towards last year’s increase of tuition fees. That is why group asap also pointed out that clear criteria should be made to determine whether the policy has been successful. The intended purpose is to improve the quality of the programmes and student guidance, expand the scholarship program to increase accessibility and improve the international information in order to attract more and better students. 

Hybrid Energy Network (HEN ++)
This project means that the Radboud University will expand the hot-cold network to the greenhouses, Berchmanianum and other buildings. In addition, more buildings will be connected to the CV. As a result, the RU can realize a gas saving of 16% compared to 2017. This is in line with plans of the Executive Board to reduce 76% of the gas before 2024 (compared to 2017). The total CO2 saving is 3.5%, also compared to 2017. The investment amounts to 4.9 million euros.  

In the Finance, Personnel and Property Committee and during the Joint Assembly Meeting questions were asked to policy officers and the Executive Board about the ratio of costs and revenues compared to the earlier HEN + plan (which started setting up a hot-cold network). A clear explanation followed and the USR has confidence that HEN ++ is a good investment. One question from asap was whether pumping up groundwater is the right way to realize HEN ++, given the social debate about the dehydration of the Netherlands. In response, the Executive Board stated that the groundwater that is pumped up also disappears back into the ground, so HEN ++ will not affect the groundwater level. This has reassured the group and the entire USR that fighting CO2 emission will not exacerbate another major national problem

Housing plan FNWI
The FNWI housing plan was also discussed in the Joint Assembly Meeting. In this document, consideration is given to housing the growing numbers of students and employees of the faculty. To realize this plan, an investment of 3.75 million euros is needed. The Works Council and USR have advisory rights on this plan. Both councils are positive about the investment, if sufficient workspaces are actually realized for both students and employees. 

Losing the Catholic identity 
As a surprise to the entire university, the designation ‘Catholic’ has been withdrawn, which means that the Radboud University is not a Catholic university per the 15th November. However, the RU does not immediately lose its special status, because it was established on grounds of private law. Nevertheless, the Executive Board is responding to the question to consider how the special status can be interpreted. Over the next years, discussions will take place with various groups, both employees and students, to see what the wishes and needs are. 

Joint Assembly Meeting
The Joint Assembly Meeting is open to visitors. If you would like to attend the meeting, please send an email to the official secretariat (mz@ru.nl) so you will receive the zoom link of the meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for the 7th of December from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm and will  partly focus on the budget. 

Jasper, Rick, Joris en Jesse
Group asap 2020-2021