Corona

Students are affected by the corona crisis in many ways. For example, there are financial consequences because the chance of study delay is considerable, internships are often not completed and part-time jobs are lost. Moreover, a large part of social life is lost. And although education often continues, this does have consequences for exams and education, for example regarding privacy. On this page, we will point out the possibilities students have for financial compensation, for example. We will keep you informed of all matters we are currently working on within the University Student Council (USR) and beyond!


Proctoring

AKKUraatd thinks that online examinations should not be at the cost of student’s privacy. During online examinations that use proctoring however, the privacy of the student is affected. This is due to the storage data on the student and it’s room, via camera images and screen checks. We think this is unnecessary because alternative exams are indeed possible. That is why AKKUraatd is against the use of proctoring. This, of course, means that lecturers must be encouraged and supported to use alternative examination methods.

If the university continues to use proctoring, AKKUraatd wants the guarantee that this will be done as little as possible. In these cases we therefore want that the university communicates to students which alternatives have been considered and why these alternatives have not been chosen. In addition, AKKUraatd advocates an alternative examination opportunity in the same academic year for students who have difficulties with online examination methods due to a disability, for students who object to this in principle, and for students who do not have the facilities to participate in online exams.

What does the current situation mean to me?
  • In principle, all exams will take place with as little use of proctoring as possible. You can apply for an alternative exam if you do not want to take an exam with proctoring. The exact decision on this can be found here. However, the interpretation of an alternative differs per study program and can also be interpreted as taking another exam in the next academic year. So the extent to which this really is an alternative differs per study program.

  • If in your opinion proctoring is used without necessity, you should report this to your Education Committee or Faculty Student Council as soon as possible. They can address this problem to those in charge of your study programme.

  • If you want to make a complaint or objection about an exam, you can contact the Central Complaint Office that will forward your complaint or objection to the right place.

What we've already achieved

 In early April, Radboud University indicated that it would consider proctoring as a substitute for physical examination. With this form of online examination, your camera images and your screen movements are saved, and even a full “room scan” might be required. AKKUraatd sees this as a major violation of the student’s privacy. In addition, some students are not able to properly participate in an exam with proctoring due to an disability or the lack of facilities. For example, internet problems or the lack of a camera may prevent you from taking the exam. That is why we took immediate action and, within our Joint Meeting with the Student Council (USC) and Works Council, committed to a clear no to proctoring as a message from the student representation. Unfortunately, not everyone within the USC and Works Council agreed with this, though a majority seemed to agree. However, due to procedural discussions, this did not lead to a clear understanding. Therefore AKKUraatd, together with the entire USR, drew up an advice to the university board to allow proctoring only if there are really no alternatives possible, and if so, to openly explain why those alternatives are not suitable.
    
Meanwhile, the university has switched to use proctoring as a pilot. The results were not very positive, especially from the student side. The privacy aspect of proctoring was also hardly questioned in this pilot. However, the university board seemed to want to continue to use proctoring, albeit under certain conditions. That is why we have set up a petition together with some students of our university to make the opinion of students clear to the university board. This petition already has nearly 2500 signatories! AKKUraatd  has offered this petition to the Executive Board. In addition, during our Joint Meeting with the USR and Works Council, we once again tried to draw up an clear and simple advice to the university board. Although again not everyone supported this, we did make sure the message form the Joint Meeting to the university board was an unconditional no to proctoring. At the same time, the Student Council at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) started judicial actions against the use of proctoring, albeit with a slightly different situation and different arguments than with us. The UvA has won this case though, and it has been decided that proctoring may continue to be used at that university. 
     
Unfortunately, the Executive Board has set aside both the petition and our advice as Joint Meeting and has only made adjustments to their proposal to continue proctoring under strict conditions. This mainly concerns the fact that the Examination Board can allow proctoring if it considers it sufficiently substantiated that no alternatives have been used. However, what is sufficient argumentation here remains unclear. The university has on the other hand decided that students are entitled to an alternative if they ask for it, but this can also mean that this alternative will only take place next academic year. Obviously, we do not consider this a real alternative. That is why AKKUraatd is still in principle against proctoring and we try to prevent this from being used for as many exams as possible.

Here’s what we are going to do

 We are working hard to achieve our goal of proctoring. To begin with, the USR and Works Council have objected to the fact that the university board has not adjusted their policy according to our advice to completely halt proctoring. We expect a response on whether they have the right to do so in early July.
    
In addition, we will once again will enter into discussions with the university board in August about the use of proctoring, but now specifically about the coming academic year. Here we will maintain our position and hope for a better result, because by that time we expected that regulations will soften and more will be possible, so physical examinations can be used more often.
    
At the same time, we also closely monitor the national debate on proctoring through the student union AKKU and the National Student Union LSVb. Where possible, we will try to adress that many students are against the use of proctoring, for example by taking action in our own hands or by sending our petition.
     
Currently, participation at the level of your faculty or studyprogramme are the most important for all short-term examinations. When an exam is administered with proctoring without it being clear whether alternatives have been considered, or the option for an alternative has not been offered to students, Program Committees and Faculty Student Councils can address this problem the fastest. Unfortunately, this can lead to students being treated in different ways in different programs, or even subjects. We have therefore raised this legal inequality at central level.

Binding Study Advice

AKKUraatd believes that the only good reason for using the BSA is to give personal advice that helps a first-year student determine whether or not the study is appropriate. However, due to the current Corona crisis, some students are unable to take their courses or exams in such a way that they know if the study is suitable for them. We, therefore, think that first-year students, or second-year students with an arrested BSA, cannot be expected to pass their BSA this year. For those students who are unable to meet their BSA this year, there should be a flexible BSA arrangement that continues to guarantee the above goal

What does the current situation mean to me?
  • As a freshman this year, will you meet the BSA standard (usually 42 EC)? Then there’s nothing wrong. If that doesn’t work out this year, for example, because a few exams don’t go ahead, you’ll end up in the so-called P-in-2 rule. In that case, you may continue your studies next year, but you must have passed all your first-year courses in August 2021. If you are one course short, you still have to quit your studies after two years.

What we've already achieved

Radboud University has meanwhile communicated that all first-year students will, in any case, receive an arrested BSA. However, this means that they have to remove all 60 EC from their propaedeutic year within 2 years. This is a much stricter BSA regulation than under normal circumstances. Normally, first-year students can only pass a number of propaedeutic subjects later in their studies if they want, as long as they get the number of EC for their BSA. Failure to pass a few first-year subjects (e.g. statistics) can happen to anyone and does not show whether the study suits anyone or not. AKKUraatd pleads for a flexible BSA scheme for all first-year students who are not able to pass their BSA this year, with the goal of BSA in mind. This could, for example, take the form of a retained BSA for all first-year students who are unable to pass their BSA this year, where they can fill in the EC they still have to pass with not only propaedeutic subjects but also second-year subjects. This allows these students to discover and show that the study suits them, but they don’t have to be afraid of being kicked out of the study because they happen to be less good in one propaedeutic subject. In order to achieve this, we have indicated through formal and informal channels the problems that first-year students (may) encounter to the Executive Board. In addition, our USR member Bart Zonneveld has written an open letter to the rector in order to clarify our vision. This letter has been published in the Vox and can be read at voxweb. As a result of the open letter there has been a conversation with the rector. Although the official decision-making has yet to take place, the rector seems somewhat willing to take more flexible measures. Soon we will discuss this further with the rector.

Here’s what we are going to do

AKKUraatd will work hard in the coming months to fight for a flexible BSA scheme. We will discuss this with the Rector Magnificus of the RU (Han van Krieken), but also guarantee the rights of students on a subject like the BSA. At the very least, we want to make sure that all students have had enough opportunities to show that the study suits them. Our ultimate goal, however, is a flexible BSA scheme in which students remain free to choose whether their study suits them and the university does not give a binding, but an urgent recommendation on the matter. 


Financial compensation students

The corona crisis is hitting a lot of students’ wallets. They may run into financial problems, for example, due to study delays, fixed costs such as rent or loss of income due to the loss of an additional job. AKKUraatd believes that these students should be compensated. AKKUraatd is, therefore, working through the student union AKKU, the national student union LSvB and the national participation council ISO to achieve financial support for these students from the government. AKKUraatd does not consider the possibility of borrowing extra from DUO to be sufficient, because this ultimately leads to more debt. That is why we advocate that students should actually be compensated financially.

What does the current situation mean to me?

Are you financially affected by the consequences of the corona crisis? Then you can take the following steps depending on your situation:

  • Loan adjustment at DUO
    • The government has made it possible (retroactively) to borrow extra via DUO. This does, of course, mean that this will eventually lead to extra debts. More information can be found here
    • If your parents currently earn less, it is possible to apply for a supplementary grant based on your parents’ income this year. More information about the recalculation of your supplementary grant can be found here.
  • Making a claim to profiling fund
    • Students are entitled to financial support if they can reasonably be expected to experience a delay in their studies. At present, however, it is not yet fully clear what the rights of students in this area are. More information about the application can be found here.
    • If you find yourself in an acute financial emergency due to the measures surrounding corona, you can claim a loan or gift from our university through the emergency fund. More information can be found here
  • More information about study delay compensation
    • Check out this page of student union AKKU for more information about compensation for study delay. 

What we've already achieved

The solution communicated by the government and Radboud University is additional borrowing from DUO. AKKUraatd does not find this a solution, but a postponement of the problem because it will saddle you with more debts. Moreover, international students cannot claim a loan from DUO. AKKUraatd believes that students are entitled to financial compensation from the profiling fund. This fund was set up with the aim of compensating students who, due to force majeure, are delayed in their studies or find themselves in an emergency situation.
The university and a large part of the USR did not want to promote this fund, for fear of too many applications from students. After long urging, both Radboud University and USR started to communicate the profiling fund as a possible way to get some financial compensation for the consequences of the corona-crisis. In addition, the university has plans to set up a special fund that can provide specific financial support during this crisis, also explicitly focusing on international students who have been affected by this crisis. In this way, there will be several options where students can go if they run into financial problems due to the corona crisis, without having to get into extra debt.
Furthermore, AKKUraatd has devoted itself in recent weeks to the students who work at our university through Campus Detachering. Many students work here with a part-time contract and are partly dependent on this in order to make ends meet. As of April, however, they will no longer receive an income for this, while permanent contracts will. AKKUraatd believes that Radboud University sets an example as an employer and the students who have recently worked hard for our university should not be ignored because that is legally allowed. We, therefore, advocate that students with a part-time contract at Campus Detachering should be somewhat accommodated by Radboud University so that they do not suddenly lose their source of income completely. This could be done, for example, by basing this amount on the time the student has spent working at Campus Detachering in recent months.

Here’s what we are going to do

In terms of financial compensation for the consequences of corona on study progress, part-time jobs or other matters, we have already made it clear in recent weeks that borrowing more is not a solution. Now all that remains is to raise awareness of the funds that students are entitled to if they are financially affected by the current crisis. In the coming period, we will, therefore, focus on better communication in this area. In addition, AKKUraatd will work hard for students with a part-time contract at Campus Detachering. We will try to persuade Radboud University to set an example as an employer and to meet these students in these times.


Financial compensation associations

Associations experiencing financial difficulties due to the corona crisis must be supported by the university. We, therefore, want the university to guarantee that associations that need it are financially supported.

What does the current situation mean to me?
  • Study associations can contact their faculty if they run into financial difficulties.
  • Student associations can contact Student Life if they run into financial difficulties.
  • Grants awarded by Student Life may not be reclaimed as a result of the corona crisis.

What we've already achieved

Grants awarded by Student Life will not be reclaimed as a result of the corona crisis. Currently, student associations that are financially affected by the corona crisis can apply to the faculty to which they belong. Student associations can contact Student Life to discuss financial support.

Here’s what we are going to do

There is currently no central policy for financial compensation for associations. AKKUraatd believes that there should be a guarantee subsidy from Student Life that is explicitly aimed at compensating shortfalls in realisations resulting from the coronavirus. We have already raised this proposal with Student Life and the university board and are waiting for a response.  


Campus Detachering

AKKUraatd believes that Radboud University sets an example as an employer. Students who have recently worked hard for our university should not simply be left to the strict conditions of the Unemployment Act. We therefore advocate that students who work via Campus Detachering (CD) are somewhat accommodated by Radboud University, so that they do not suddenly lose their source of income completely. This could be done for example by guaranteeing students at least to continue to pay the average number of hours of the past 3 months for the coming period.

What does the current situation mean to me?
  • If you work for CD, but due to the measures around corona you can’t do this anymore in the coming period, you can claim the Unemployment Act under strict conditions. More information about this can be found here.

What we've already achieved

AKKUraatd has devoted itself the past few weeks to the students who work at our university via CD. Many students depend on their income from CD to make ends meet. However, a large part of them have not been able to work for them since April and therefore no longer receive an income. Although it is possible to apply for Unemployment Act, this is only possible under very strict conditions. Many employment agencies and other employers do pay students on the basis of the average number of hours of the past 3 months. Radboud University has already done something similar for the month of March. AKKUraatd advocates that our university will continue to do so in the coming months.

Here’s what we are going to do

We will continue to work hard for students working for CD. We will try to persuade Radboud University to set an example as an employer and to accommodate these students somewhat in these times, by at least going for the guarantee of a part of the salary that the student would normally earn.  

 


 

Do you have any questions or comments on corona-related topics?

  • Take a look at this page of student union AKKU for an extensive overview of questions and answers.
  • Mail other questions and or comments to USR@akku.nu