How can I make my voice heard? Who can I contact to voice my concerns? How can I contribute to the direction of the university and my faculty?
When I came to Leiden University in 2020, during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had no idea how the organization worked, much less how I should raise concerns about issues that were important to me and my friends. I have been shocked and confused by many actions by the university this year. From the C.A.R.E. group being defunded, to the installation of a new camera system, and even the sometimes confusing COVID-19 campus policies.
The Hague campus can oftentimes feel far away from Leiden University’s decision-making process and I wasn’t sure what I could do outside of protesting and talking to my tutors about the things that bothered me. Thankfully, I heard about the Democratic Students Party and applied for a position on the board, so that I could contribute more and help facilitate constructive change at the university for the benefit of my peers and fellow students. Now, I run the social media accounts and help organize campaigns for the board.
There are six student political parties at Leiden University (CSL, LVS, LSP, ONS, PBMS, and DSP), that are dedicated to addressing a wide range of issues at the University on different levels. The DSP is specifically dedicated to issues concerning campus The Hague and it’s where we do most of our outreach and campaigning.
The main ways that students can make their voices heard are through protest and co-participation. Protesting has been a popular and effective way for Leiden University Campus The Hague students to bring attention to the issues we find most pressing. However, many students want a more direct and responsive way to voice concerns to the university administration. This is the main function of the co-participation bodies at Leiden University.
So how do student parties fit into co-participation?
Honestly, it can be a little confusing and complicated.
Essentially, there are two levels of co-participation bodies: one university wide council and seven faculty councils. The faculty councils are elected by just the bachelor’s and master’s students in each faculty, while the university council is elected by the entire student body. Each spring, students who are associated with a particular party run for election to the university and faculty councils. Student parties write a manifesto each spring describing their platform and policy goals for the upcoming year. Students vote in May and when the votes are tallied, the new councils are assembled. Once elected, these councils provide input to the university on specific issues and act as oversight bodies. University and faculty councils are one of the most important ways students have a say in university policy.
So, researching which party shares your values and concerns and then voting in the election is crucial in order to make sure your interests are represented. The election season is fast approaching; meaning that parties are going to start releasing manifestos and candidate applications, so it’s a good time to start getting to know them!
Elections will be held from the ninth to the thirteenth of May. Before then, get to know the parties and their platforms, so you can vote in your best interest. If we vote and make our voices heard, we can make Leiden a safer, fairer, and more inclusive University!
by the Democratic Students Party – Max Adams
Tell us what you think on Instagram @basis.baismag
CSL – https://csl-leiden.nl
ONS – https://stemons.nl/en/
Pbms – https://pbmsleiden.nl
dsp – https://dspthehague.com