News of the week: 25 Sept. – 1 October

What's happened in week 40? Smartphones forbidden during Film History class, stereotypical machine has to go, brainfreeze and more.

Smartphones forbidden

thumb-samsungtelefoonArts lecturers Annelies van Noortwijk and Julian Hanich have forbidden mobile devices in their classrooms. ‘Smart phones, tablets and laptops have to be turned off and kept in your bags at all times’, according to an e-mail to their Film History students. The mobile devices are distracting, the lecturers feel. Do students agree?

Wouter Vijfhuizen, 21, does. ‘It’s extremely distracting if someone spends the whole lecture typing or playing with their phone’, he says. But Olga Makarkina, 21, uses her phone as a tool ‘to look up more background information on what the lecturer is talking about.’

Stereotype machine

thumb-manvrouwmachineMan and woman machines from the exhibition ‘400 Years of Science’ were removed from the Bernoulliborg due to accusations of sexism. The installation aims to bring attention to the lack of female students and staff in the scientific fields in the Netherlands. The male machine has five knobs, whereas the female machine has countless gauges, switches and buttons.

‘Context is very important here’, Bart van de Laar, head of ScienceLinX, explains. ‘It seems that in the Netherlands, we discourage girls from going further into science.’ The machines are currently in storage until a new home can be found.

Opposition to board reappointment

thumb-collegevan bestuurThe University Council objects to the pre-emptive reappointment of two members of the Board of Directors. Last week, Rector Elmer Sterken – whose term is ending soon – President Sibrand Poppema and Vice Chairman Jan de Jeu were reappointed mid-term.

The University Council sees it as premature. Chairperson Hilly Mast says, ‘We would have preferred to assess both Poppema and De Jeu in two years. You have to keep them on their toes, and that’s not easy to do if you give them security for years to come.’ Student parties SOG and Calimero also object to the reappointment.

Off the bus, on the bike

thumb-fietsenStudents who travel by train to Groningen are advised by the Student Advice Committee to bike rather than take the bus in the city. SAC also said cyclists should have more space in areas where they influence traffic, such as Zernike and UMCG.

Existing bike routes should be extended beyond the municipality, bike parking at the central station should improve, the ‘Smart Route’ should be extended between Zernike and the central station, and cyclists need right-of-way at the Eikenlaan. Students are also advised to avoid the centre and the Museum Bridge when going to classes.

Students fear brain freeze

thumb-freezingcoldThe newsroom in the Harmonie Building is so cold that students have to bundle up just to work there. Facility manager Rein van den Bos says that due to construction in the arts library that the climate control has been turned off, as well as the heating.

‘Anyway, it’s unhealthy to spend the whole day seated,’ Van Den Bos believes. ‘I understand that the students have deadlines, but my advice is to take a break every once in a while and go outside.’

30,000th RUG student an international

thumb-30.000David Davies, an 18-year-old from Wales studying computing science, is the 30,000th RUG student. On Tuesday, the Board of Directors presented Davies with a bouquet of flowers and a laptop to mark the occasion.

The RUG is the third Dutch university – following Amsterdam and Utrecht – to reach 30,000 students, and President Poppema predicts the University will reach 35,000 students in six years. The Association of Universities in the Netherlands attributes the increase to the implementation of a loan system for financial aid next year. While 25 percent of RUG students are international, the RUG’s goal is 30 percent.