The news of the week 18: 24 – 30 April

What's happening at the university? Afraid you missed anything? Here is your weekly update from 24 - 30 April.

Faculty deans: ‘There’s definitely a problem’

thumb-prostitueeLast week, doctoral candidates at the RUG lamented a lack of job security in academia. How does the RUG respond?

Arts Dean Gerry Wakker sees employment opportunities in the near future as current staff members begin to retire, and while Economics and Business Dean Harry Garretsen works with six-year tenure track contracts, the department can’t offer them to every eligible candidate.

Henk Kiers, dean of the faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences, says there isn’t much the RUG can do right now: ‘In this economy where universities are financed by the government, creating new positions is risky.’

Math and Natural Science department postpones switching to Google

thumb-GmailUnlike the rest of the RUG, the Math and Natural Science faculty won’t be switching to Google on 26 May. Concerns were raised that the details of their research or patent requests would be exposed if they are handled via Google, due to the Patriot Act obligating the American-based tech company to provide its information to the government.

The department believes that a permanent exception is vital, but that step would only be seriously considered if the staff can prove that they are contractually obligated to avoid working with businesses that use Google.

SSH taking over Housing Office

thumb-Housing OfficeStudent housing organization SSH will be taking over the Housing Office, the group currently responsible for international student housing. SSH has already begun working with the RUG and Hanzehogeschool on plans for new accommodations.

According to the plans, several old student houses will be replaced, but that will likely take several years to complete. Currently, the Housing Office has 11 international student houses, but it is not yet known which ones will cease to exist and how many new houses will be built.

Zernikeborg: form follows function

thumb-nijenborghMore details about the new Zernikeborg construction project are being released: it will be 200 meters tall and will occupy 50,000 square meters, which is roughly the same size as Nijenborgh, the current home of the Math and Science faculty.

The department’s staff will get to see the designs, created by Ector Hoogstad Architects, on 20 May. Project manager Van Uitert says the Zernikeborg will be designed for function rather than form, unlike the construction of the Linnaeusborg. The construction will take place in phases, and will be completed in 2021.

Resits for Math and Science during regular week of classes

thumb-tentamenalettajacobsStudents in the Math and Science department have begun collecting signatures for a petition against exam schedule changes. Previously, students had two weeks of exams followed by a week for resits, but the third week has been scrapped and resits will be held during a regular week of classes. So far, they have collected about 50 signatures.

Steven van der Veeke, a member of the physic department’s programme committee, supports the action, but isn’t sure it will make a difference: ‘It seems like this decision came from an authority above the faculty board’s heads’, he says.