University Council wonders: can we do more despite corona?

| Rense Kuipers

From overcrowded minors to empty campus terraces, this morning the University Council asked the Executive Board for more space within the current corona restrictions. The Board said it was looking for possibilities, but is equally hampered.

We do our best to be as open as possible', is how Executive Board vice-president Mirjam Bult introduced the corona topic at the university council meeting Wednesday morning. For example, we recently decided to reopen mainly project spaces. We are also looking at possibilities for staff and extracurricular activities. But the guidelines and rules are still strict.'

What followed was a barrage of diverse questions from the University Council: 'Isn't there a need for more space for other educational activities besides project work?' asked Dick Meijer (PvdUT). Members of UReka asked about the possibilities for drinks on campus - because associations are now moving to the city centre - and studying abroad in the coming academic year. Uraad chairman Herbert Wormeester (Campus Coalition) in turn expressed his concerns about minors becoming overcrowded and about the possibilities of organising graduation ceremonies.

The answers of both Executive Board members boiled down to: we are doing what we can, but we cannot do that much yet. 'We have different permits than restaurants in the city centre, so our options for drinks are limited', Bult replied. 'We are, however, in consultation with caterer Appèl to see what we can make possible in this area.' And about the graduation ceremonies: 'It will be possible, certainly from July onwards. But it is up to the study programmes to find their way in this - within the available space, which we want to use as well as possible.'

Rector Tom Veldkamp discussed the capacity, travelling and the minors. In the University Education Committee it was decided to give priority to project work. We will look for more space. As far as travel is concerned, we have a no-go at the moment. We are following the government guidelines and expect uncertainty in the coming months. We are, however, aiming for a central moment to give the green light.' And for the minors, Veldkamp, together with the education portfolio holders of the faculties, is looking for more capacity within the existing supply. 'We are aware of the waiting lists for popular minors, but we cannot create new minors out of thin air.'