No abolition of co-optation, but system needs to be more inclusive

| Rense Kuipers

The co-optation system should not be abolished, but it should be made more transparent and inclusive. That is the starting point of housing corporation Vechtdal Wonen in an action plan to revamp the housing system on campus.

Photo by: RIKKERT HARINK

The co-optation debate has flared up again in recent months, particularly between the University Council and the Executive Board. Last December, Executive Board Vice-President Mirjam Bult hinted that 'if it were up to the Executive Board, we would abolish co-optation immediately'. A meeting of the University Council later revealed that abolishing it would be a bridge too far, but that the Executive Board does want to work towards 'a solution that everyone understands and that, above all, represents the culture of the UT'.

'Co-option part of ideal community'

But ultimately, it is not up to the Executive Board to change the co-optation system, but to the housing corporation Vechtdal Wonen, which owns the majority of the campus housing. The corporation recently drew up an action plan, which will be discussed in the University Council next Wednesday.

The plan shows that Vechtdal Wonen has no intention whatsoever of abolishing the co-optation system. 'As the owner of the student housing on the campus, Vechtdal Wonen has a vision of an ideal community. Co-optation is part of the ideal community on campus. Our principle is that we offer our tenants and room-seekers a home', the corporation writes.

Survey by the Central Residents' Council

In the plan, the corporation outlined four steps it would like to take: an awareness campaign together with the UT, better information about the co-optation system for those seeking rooms and a desk to report abuse. The step that requires some more attention and efforts: gaining insight into the current situation, in order to 'adjust the co-option system if necessary'. According to Vechtdal Wonen, adjustments to the cooptation policy must lead to better reception of new students on the campus and more inclusiveness, tolerance and transparency.

In order to gain insight into the current and desired situation, the recently re-established Central Residents Council (Centrale Bewonersraad in Dutch) plays an important role. This council is currently conducting a survey among all campus residents about the co-optation system. The results should be known in a few weeks. After consultation with the tenants, the council will then give its advice to the housing corporation.

A different name for co-optation?

How big the change to the co-optation system will be is yet to be seen. That something will change seems obvious. According to the timetable, an 'adjustment of the allocation policy' is planned for this autumn.

And the corporation wants to hold a competition together with the UT to come up with a new name to replace the term 'co-optation'. A 'nasty word' or not, if it is up to the UT and Vechtdal Wonen, co-optation will get a different name in the future.