‘Co-option is a nasty word’

| Jelle Posthuma

The right of co-option will be reformed. This became clear during the meeting of the University Council last Wednesday morning. ‘We want a solution that everyone understands and that, above all, represents the culture of the UT.’

Photo by: gijs van ouwerkerk

Co-option is a sensitive topic on campus. During the last University Council meeting in December, a lively discussion arose about the usefulness and uselessness of co-optation, through which campus residents choose their own roommates. This right would put international students at a disadvantage in their search for housing. Supporters of co-optation fear that they will have their new roommate forced on them if the right is abolished.

‘There is something to be said for both sides,' Margot Dietrich (UReka) said during the University Council on Wednesday morning. ‘It is clear that something has to be done to reduce 'exclusion' in the future.’ According to Dietrich, an algorithm that 'matches' students to a campus house based on their interests and not on their background could offer a solution. She also suggested that students should be introduced to campus houses more extensively in a so-called Day and Night programme. ‘But above all, it is important that the Executive Board takes all parties into account in its policy,' Dietrich stated as she concluded.


Mirjam Bult, vice-president of the Executive Board, called the council's proposals 'useful' and 'interesting'. ‘We know that the subject is sensitive. That is why it is important that students themselves come up with a solution.' The vice-president further said she is not sure whether everyone will be 'equally comfortable' with the new co-optation system as envisaged by the Executive Board. ‘But we want a solution that everyone understands and that, above all, represents the culture of the UT.'

Nasty word

During the previous meeting of the University Council, Bult said she wanted to get rid of the current co-optation model. ‘If it is up to the Executive Board, we will get rid of co-optation right away.’ Last Wednesday morning, the vice-president also hinted at the imminent end of the right of co-option. ‘I think the word co-optation is a nasty word. I prefer to call it 'matchmaking'. I can understand that you want to choose a new housemate on the basis of certain preferences, but it should not be based on preferences that people cannot change.’

Is the Executive Board also aware of the recently re-established residents' council, Maarten Bonnema (UReka) wanted to know. Bult responded to this question affirmatively. ‘In the meantime, we are in discussion with housing corporation De Veste. Also in these talks I have emphasized the sensitivity of the subject.’ The vice-president wants to make rapid progress. According to Bult, in May, there should already be more clarity about the future of the co-optation right. 'So that we can introduce the new measures before the start of the new academic year.'

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