A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Did you know that students actually have a voice in the inner politics of Leiden University? We have several student parties and you can run for different positions, like a politician on a smaller scale. Most students are unaware of University politics and, to put it quite frankly, don’t care much about it. However, it’s an important (and fascinating!) part of our University, that is relevant to every single one of us. Don’t believe me? Take a second and think about your experiences at Leiden University. If you are as lucky as I am, most of them will be positive. But I bet that even if you are absolutely and head-over-heels in love with Leiden University, you’d find something that could be improved. Especially in the wake of the recent Black Lives Matter protests, many students spoke up about negative experiences that need to be addressed. Don’t get me wrong, in my opinion, the overall responsibility lies with the University. But exercising your right to vote, or even running yourself, can impact policies and might create the change you want to see. So, let’s have a closer look at that.
The UC is a democratically elected body designed to give students and staff a voice. It’s composed of eight staff members and eight students, who are democratically elected during University-wide elections. The council follows developments at Leiden University closely, and is often consulted by the Executive Board. Even though the formal powers of the council are limited, the Executive Board aims to reach a consensus in every matter, which the University calls the “Harmoniemodel”. Every student is an eligible candidate, but many decide to join a student party for a while before they run for office.
We’ll take a look at the parties now, but if you want to learn more about the University Council follow this link: https://www.organisatiegids.universiteitleiden.nl/en/staff-and-student-participation/university-council
As mentioned, there are six official student parties. As a member of the party, you can take on different positions such as campaign manager, treasurer or secretary. Of course, you can also offer your candidacy for the University Council or a faculty council. Overall, the parties aim to represent the interests of the student body. So far, not every party offers an English version of their website, but (of course) they welcome international students as well as Dutch students.
What are your thoughts on University politics? Is there something you want to change? Let us know in the comments!