INTER stands for a more accessible, diverse, democratic, sustainable, transparent and student-welfare-focused UvA. In particular, we strive to highlight the unique challenges faced by international students at this University. Above all, however, INTER wants students from all walks of life to feel like their voice matters, because student politics is you.
Click on any motion below to see the parties explination
All board members of study associations should receive equal financial support from the University
INTER believes that all study association board members deserve compensation for their efforts. However, equal funding would disregard differences in reach, scale of initiatives and size of varying study associations. If some study associations have a larger following and organise events on a larger scale than others, it makes more sense to suggest that they receive more funding in order to make these efforts a reality.
It is the government’s responsibility to provide mental health support for students. Therefore, the university should not spend extra resources on this
While we agree that mental health support should be on the government’s agenda, it absolutely does not absolve the university of responsibility for their students and their well-being. Students spend the majority of their time at the university or with university-connected activities, many live here purely for their studies. The university should not only care for their students well-being, but is in our eyes directly responsible for providing support to any student who needs it and should therefore allocate resources to providing students in need with mental health support.
The university should stop the prioritisation of students from outside the EU in regard to university provided student housing.
While we understand why such prioritization may feel discriminatory to Dutch and EU students, we cannot ignore the fact that the university admits students who then travel around the world for UvA education while the housing market in Amsterdam is even more difficult for them to access, with a housing shortage combined with the fact that many landlords demand in-person meetings and Dutch or at least EU passports. We support the UvA in informing international students more about these issues to prevent them from facing housing problems after their student housing ends. Additionally, the UvA should analyze its role in combating the housing shortage for all students and actively contribute to this effort.
The UvA should offer free menstrual products at each campus
Menstruation products are a biological necessity, and should be widely accessible to all those who menstruate. INTER fully supports this initiative, and believes it helps greatly to support students on campus.
The UvA should cut ties with fossil fuel companies like Shell
UvA should strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible, which essentially includes cutting ties with fossil fuel companies.
More investment is needed in interdisciplinary education (providing students with more than just one perspective on a particular subject, such as honours, PPLE or IIS programs)
Interdisciplinarity is a valuable asset in today's increasingly complex world. More interdisciplinary education, therefore, would generally serve to benefit the UvA student body. That being said, there remains a need for specialised education within certain fields. This should not be overlooked, and deserves it's fair share of investment.
The number of international students in a council should be representative of the number of international students within a faculty, or the University (same for Dutch students).
We do not believe that a person’s representative capacities are tied to their citizenship, as many students have similar needs and grievances, regardless of their background. Representation of students should be based on the student body’s democratic will and not on their residence status.
The UvA should address problems such as systemic overwork and bad working conditions among its teachers by giving out more permanent contracts.
We agree that the uncertainty caused by temporary contracts is detrimental to teachers' sense of security and their motivation. More permanent contracts is something the teachers themselves demanded, and we encourage a dialogue between the relevant parties.
Admission to programs with a limited student capacity should be based on merit rather than random selection through a lottery system
Merit should not only be the only criterion, as it can disadvantage already underprivileged students who do not have access to well-funded educational opportunities. Nevertheless, random lottery selection does not consider merit, motivation, or possible disadvantages the student might have faced up until that point. Therefore, we agree that merit rather than a lottery system should be used, but not as the only criterion.
All lectures should be available online, independently of COVID-19 cases or quarantine regulations
Lectures should be made available online to accommodate students with multiple commitments outside of university and also in support of those with special needs and circumstances. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the way people learn and work worldwide has undergone a drastic reform, and it's imperative that the UvA adapts to this. Additionally, making lectures available as recordings rather than live streams would ensure that lecture attendance remains high, but those who need an online format are still accommodated for.
The Binding Study Advice (BSA) should be abolished
At INTER we are of the opinion that the current BSA is too high and that the regulations surrounding it are too inflexible to allow students freedom in their study and personal development. We believe the BSA needs to be lowered and the regulations deciding about exemptions and providing support need to become more flexible and personalisable. However, completely abolishing the BSA is not the answer as it would either further drive UvA’s growth into unsustainable heights or necessitate stricter admission criteria, which would defeat the UvA’s value of giving students fair chances.
The Numerus Fixus (a limitation in the number of students admitted) should be used to stop the growth of the university
We are aware of the UvA’s extensive growth in student numbers and agree that action needs to be taken to counteract that. A Numerus Fixus could be a good way to limit student inflow. But we want to emphasise that selection should not be purely merit-based in regards to students’ high school performance, but should account for students’ experiences and motivation. A Numerus Fixus and curbing student influx cannot come at the expense of underprivileged students who might be disadvantaged by certain policies!
The UvA should invest in more accessibility for students with functional limitations as well as sensitivity towards these students
This is, without a doubt, one of the most pressing issues at the UvA right now. There is an urgent need to improve the accessibility of this university, and the way it treats students with special needs. One of the main goals of INTER is to help make this a reality through our own advocacy and our council member initiatives.
The executive board of the university should be elected through an open election by the students and worker’s body
Electing the executive board would increase transparency and promote democratic practices at the university. It would also provide us, students, with the opportunity to choose the people who make important decisions which affect our academic careers as well as make changes to the university we study at.
As a way to curb the growth of the university, Dutch language courses should be a mandatory part of all programs
INTER agrees with more accessible and free Dutch courses. However, we strongly disagree with making them mandatory. We also take issue with the way this statement is formulated, and believe that the responsibility for curbing university growth should be placed on the institution itself and the Dutch government, rather than serve as a burden for students.
Academic freedom is as equally important as social safety.
This is a very vague statement, implying that values can be ranked based on a singular unit along a hierarchical scale. We think Academic Freedom is an important value to pursue at university and we also strongly advocate for a safe learning environment. Ranking these two against each other is very case-dependent and seeing as the above statement lacks definitions, we position ourselves as “neutral”.
The University must prioritise active diversity policies, including decolonization, as mentioned in the 2016 Diversity Report
INTER considers that it is one of the main responsibilities of the UvA to acknowledge their colonial history and make an active effort to do better. Given our existing focus on international students, we highly support the initiatives for a more diverse student and staff composition.
The UvA should involve students in long term plans for study spaces and teaching facilities according to the expected growth in student population
We believe that students should be involved and have a direct say in all major decisions concerning student life, this is necessary for a more democratic university. Students should be especially involved in the decisions concerning study spaces and teaching facilities as our experiences as students should be considered as valuable knowledge and be treated as such.
All food options (including meat) should be available at the university cafeteria
Eating meat puts a heavy burden on the planet, and is more polluting than vegetarian food options. However, students with soy allergies or vegetable allergies must be acknowledged, and they would be very disadvantaged with a fully vegan or vegetarian canteen, therefore some meat options should remain available in the cafeteria. The animal products offered should be ethically sourced and there should be halal and kosher options.
Students wishing to take honours courses should be able to do so based on their motivation, regardless of their grades
The Dutch grading system is not without it's own critiques. Nevertheless, grades do showcase the extent to which a student is able to handle their university workload. If one's grades are low, this might be indicative that an additional honours course would not be suitable. That being said, one's motivation should definitely still account for a large portion of the admissions process and be taken seriously.
There should be no mandatory attendance for seminars/ tutorials
We do think it is important for students to attend tutorials and engage in discussions with each other about the subjects they are studying. However, similarly as with the BSA, current exemption regulations for the attendance are too inflexible and inconsiderate of students’ physical and mental health, as well as their financial means as many need to work or travel far. We advocate for a more flexible, student-focused attendance policy that is adapted to students’ needs and allows more exemptions.
Programs should have the sole responsibility in deciding whether they teach in Dutch or in English
The decision should be made in a democratic manner, with all relevant stakeholders involved. The interests of Dutch and international students alike should be taken into consideration.
Student councils should support occupations as a legitimate means of protest at the university
Student councils should have the option to support it, but it should be up to their discretion. It is not for the student councils to encourage such activities, as the main goal of the representatives of the student body is to engage in dialogue with the university to achieve their goals and protect their interests.