University Council member forced to leave
After nine years, Personnel Faction member Hilly Mast suddenly has to leave the University Council. Due to the cancellation of the zero-hour appointments for UMCG employees, she is no longer allowed to participate.
‘That means I am forced to end my representative work in the University Council. Have I perhaps been too critical?’ Mast wonders in a tweet. For nine years, she was council president. This year marked the first year she held a ‘normal’ seat in the Personnel Faction in the representative body. But now, after four months, she suddenly has to leave. ‘Without knowing it, I actually attended my last university meeting in December. A bizarre Christmas present from the university board’, says Mast.
Last month, approximately 300 UMCG employees were suddenly told they no longer have a zero-hour appointment with the university. This meant they were cut loose from the RUG, while many of them are focused only on teaching at the university. Mast, who works as a student counsellor at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, is one of them. Now that she is no longer an official employee at the RUG, she may not have a seat in the University Council. ‘For Hilly herself, this is of course very sour’, says Personnel Faction chairperson Bart Beijer. ‘The university board is now rid of a ‘nuisance’, because Hilly is very critical. It’s frustrating for Hilly, it’s frustrating for us, but also for all the employees at the medical faculty in general who assumed that the zero-hour appointment was a permanent thing.’ In December, Mast tweeted: ‘With my forced departure from the University of Groningen and the University Council, the Board has lost a quibbler and opponent. Coincidence?’
Met mijn gedwongen vertrek uit de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen en de Uraad is RUG-bestuur een fel criticaster en tegenstander kwijt! Toeval??
— Hilly Mast (@hillymast) 18 december 2015
The Personnel Faction has sent the university board an e-mail, asking them to postpone the decision by six months. ‘Just so we’re able to talk about it in peace. You have to wonder how much thought was put into this’, says Beijer. His party was ‘overwhelmed’ by the RUG board in December, when the Board of Directors said that the deal that the zero-hour appointment would be temporary was made nine years ago. ‘But back then we didn’t know that a letter had been sent to the employees at the Institute for Medical Education in 2010, which promised them a permanent zero-hour appointment. So based on that, it can be said that these employees had no idea this was coming.’
Mast has asked the University Board to grant her a new zero-hour appointment, but they have refused. ‘I could appeal the decision to void my zero-hour appointment. After all, the employees at the Institute of Medical Education, including me, were told in 2010 that their zero-hour appointments were permanent.’ Mast thinks she has a chance with her appeal. Beijer, too, thinks that UMCG employees who invoke the 2010 letter should be awarded a favourable decision. ‘But then what?’ Whatever happens, his party will not be left with an empty seat. ‘Someone will take her place, if they want to, anyway. We do have a few people in mind, people who earlier didn’t want a seat. We will be asking them again.’ Mast will be awaiting the University Board’s reaction to the Personnel Faction’s e-mail.