LOST IN LEIDEN
Students and science staff can cast their votes during the annual elections for the University Council until 8 June. This council is the most important mouthpiece for employee and student participation for Leiden University, and counsels the Board of Governors about numerous issues. The University Council has 16 seats, eight for students and 8 for science staff. The students can elect their candidates yearly, while the staff elect theirs every two years.
Three parties are participating on behalf of the students, i.e. the rather leftwing Bewust en Progressief, the Christelijke Studentenfractie Leiden and the more rightwing Studenten Groepering Leiden. The staff have the union party Abvakabo and the Leids Promovendi Overleg (LEO) fighting for their favour. The latter party is new, so the Abvakabo has finally got some serious competition. During the last elections there were no other employees’ parties.
Incidentally, the turnout for the elections is always very low. Last year only 16 percent of the students voted, while the percentage was just above 30 percent for the staff, and it does not seem likely that the turnout will be any higher this year.
A political science student has recently been caught twice for plagiarism and has now been suspended for a year. All the other students on the course have been informed and warned about this by e-mail.
Twice, the student concerned handed in someone else’s article under his own name. The first time, the examination board declared his mark to be invalid. However, the student repeated the offence. This second case of plagiarism led to a year’s suspension for the student by the committee. The committee took into consideration the directives for handling fraud as mentioned in Act for higher education and scientific research (WHW).
The examination committee has informed in writing all the political science students of this case of plagiarism. The students have also been told that all written work can be checked for plagiarism, using such means as software that can trace fraudulent work.
Rector magnificus Douwe Breimer will remain a member of the Board of Governors for at least another two years. Last week, the Supervisory Board extended his term by two years.
This renewed appointment, with the term running from 1 February 2005 to 1 February 2007, means that Breimer will be starting his third term as rector magnificus.
The rector is the member of the Board who is responsible for the quality of research and education, and must be, by definition, a professor. Incidentally, Breimer, a professor of Pharmacology, is renowned as one of The Netherlands’ most eminent scientists, with several honorary degrees to his name.
Breimer said that, after nearly four years of rectorship, he had still not had his fill of university management. “It’s very exciting and inspirational to be involved with the university, to have contact with the staff and students and to carry on with all the initiatives that have been started: the introduction of BaMa, the continued internationalisation, the League, the strong link between research and education and ensuring the standards of their quality. I would like to spend much more energy on all these matters”.
Incidentally, Breimer`s renewed appointment occurred on recommendation of the Board of Governors itself, after consulting the Council of Deans first. The Supervisory Board took the final decision after hearing the University Council.