Student party TOF
As the biggest and the only decentralised party at the Faculty of Humanities, TOF stands for:
A decentralised University of Amsterdam, where the power of decision making are made on the lowest possible level, whilst participation of students and staff is ensured.
A more diverse Faculty of Humanities, where every student feels at home and where there is a place for diversity in the curriculum.
Strong Programme Committees that are involved in shaping the curriculum at an early stage.
A faculty with education of the highest quality, in which the intrinsic value of the humanities is safeguarded.
A more sustainable faculty, where there is attention for the environment.
A faculty where the importance of democracy is acknowledged: where dialogue triumphs and the Student Council and Programme Committees are heard.
Click on any motion below to see the parties explination
Student parties that receive any kind of support from student associations should be excluded from participating in the student council elections.
To ensure fair chances for the different competing student parties TOF believes that student associations should be neutral and shouldn't support any student parties. Student associations should promote the student councils and the elections as whole instead.
Decisions must be made as decentralised as possible.
TOF is a decentral party, which means we deliberately choose to compete at the Faculty of Humanities only. The UvA has seven wonderful faculties that differ very much in nature, which is why we think each faculty should have as much room as possible to make its own decisions. If possible, we believe decisions should be made by the people that know best: the students and teachers from a programme. To ensure this, TOF fights for strong programme committees with power.
The examination of curricula goes hand in hand with decolonisation and should be prioritised within the Diversity approach of the UvA.
TOF wants to implement the recommendations of the diversity report 2016 and decolonise the curricula as soon as possible.
The UvA must actively facilitate the transfer from HBO (university of applied sciences) to WO (academic university education).
TOF believes that students who come from HBO (universities of applied science) should be given the opportunity to study at the UvA. These students can offer a different perspective on the education that is given. The faculty must make an active effort to facilitate the transition from HBO to university and it must also offer high quality Pre-master programmes for HBO students who would like to obtain a university master's degree.
Budget cuts should come at the expense of smaller educational programmes.
As a decentral party that competes solely at the Faculty of Humanities, TOF strongly believes a wide range of programmes needs to be ensured. This range and diversity of programmes is what makes our Faculty of Humanities so unique, and we think this uniqueness is worth a fight. Within the university, solidarity is paramount. Bigger programmes that are more profitable can support smaller programmes, both at university level and at faculty level.
Programmes should decide for themselves whether English will improve the quality of education.
Internationalization is often used for financial reasons only, sometimes at the expense of the quality of education. This should not happen, high quality education always comes first. TOF believes that the teachers and students of the programme itself are most fitted to judge whether using the English language will benefit the quality of education, as they are the experts.
The University should provide its students more (aid with) housing
TOF is a decenentral party that only competes at the FGw, so our stance is neutral. That being said, TOF is aware of the wide array of problems surrounding the current housing situation and calls for concrete action on a central level.
Every student must be able to pay per study point at the UvA (flexible studying).
TOF is against flex studying because it leads to the commercialization of education. The faculty should not be a place where students put courses in their shopping carts and pay for them individually. Moreover, courses of a course are not usually isolated, but together form a coherent whole. Because flex studying makes it possible to follow courses in a different order, it can lead to students missing crucial knowledge. Instead of expanding the flex-study pilot, TOF believes that the faculty should conduct research into other good ways of studying part-time. Due to the corona crisis, many students may experience study delay and a solution must be found for them, but TOF thinks that flexible studying is not it. Our faculty is no FEBO.
The amount of international students in a council, should be representative for the amount of international students within a faculty, or the University (same for Dutch students)
Representation is already ensured through democractic elections. Predetermining the amount of international and Dutch students in a council goes against this democratic procedure.
The University must take into account the holidays of all religions.
The university policy must be as inclusive as possible. Although it will not be possible to make all religious holidays an official holiday, students should have the option to miss class on religious holidays without being disadvantaged. For this purpose, TOF suggests a “strippenkaart model” in which every student gets to miss 3 to 7 days of education per year without suffering consequences, to be deployed for secular or religious reasons.
All lectures should be available online, independently of the quarantine.
TOF believes that the possibility to offer digital education has to be properly communicated to teachers, but does not think all lectures should be made available online. Online lectures has proven to be a good means to improve the accessibility of education, especially in times of Corona, and they can also reduce the high school mentality we see in Higher Education. However, TOF thinks it is up to the teacher (or the programme) to determine whether digital education or other forms of blended learning are a good way to convey the material covered in a course. They know best whether discussion can contribute to the content of a course and it is their privacy that is compromised when images or sound recordings of their lectures are made available online.
There should be no sanctions for absence from lectures and tutorials.
According to TOF, attendance at seminars or lectures is the responsibility of students themselves, so it must also be possible to be absent without sanctions. Missing the discussed material is a sanction in itself. Forcing students to be present against their will leads to “high school mentality” taking over our faculty.
Prioritizing efficiency in education leads to belittling of students and must therefore disappear.
Among other things, the large focus on profit causes the curriculum to be poor, ensures that students are driven through their studies as quickly as possible and makes sure that curiosity is not encouraged and education is becoming more and more about doing what the teacher tells you to do. The effect of university education becoming more like high school is often the result of the desire to have students graduate more quickly. Neoliberal thinking in educational matters has to come to an end: TOF believes good quality education comes first.
More investment is needed in interdisciplinary education (providing students with more than just one perspective on a particular subject, such as honours, PPLE or IIS programmes)
TOF believes it is up to the ones that know most about education to come up with new programmes: the teachers. Extra investment in interdisciplinarity according to our party must not be a goal in itself, but can be something to invest in if teachers think it will benefit the quality of education at the faculty of humanities. TOF emphasises there is no interdisciplinarity without strong mono-disciplines. Interdisciplinary programmes do not make sense if students are not educated in a monodiscipline, which is why investments in the two should go hand in hand. These investments should be done at a faculty level, where there is room for minors and electives, TOF believes an institute like IIS is not needed.
Entry selection is detrimental to the accessibility of the university and should not take place.
TOF is happy with our faculty not implementing decentral selection, also known as Numerus Fixus. We are ideologically against numerus fixus due to the risk of standardization of the student body. Providing necessary materials only a few weeks before the entry exam and expecting prospective students to arrange their life according to this is only feasible for a very specific group of students. We believe that numerus fixus will lead to uniformization of students if an exam is to be the most important method of evaluation to check competency. Everyone should be given equal chances to become an UvA student.
Study associations should be encouraged and financially supported by the University.
Study associations strengthen the sense of community at this university and also offer a good opportunity for extracurricular activities. For this reason, TOF believes that the UvA should support them financially, certainly when its about subsidizing events like lectures related to the subject of the study programme.
Political Diversity should also be included in the Diversity approach of the university
The UvA's diversity approach is not about opinions, but about factors over which people themselves have no say. For this reason, TOF is against including political diversity in the diversity policy of the University.
The University must invest more in improving the silent rooms.
Students can have different reasons for wanting to relax and spend a moment in silence. For the mental and physical health of students, TOF believes it is very important that contemplation rooms offer students this opportunity to relax.
Money put into student participation by the University should be invested in free beer for students.
TOF believes it to be more sensible to think about university policy and (with or without a beer afterwards) advise the board than to spend the money for councils and programme committees on free beer for all students. The money the faculty sets aside for participation in decision making is desperately needed to pay all teachers and students for their hard work in the councils and programme committees, where they guarantee quality education.
The University should tailor curricula based on the needs of the labour market.
We must not forget what the University is about, namely the practice of science. Though not all students from the Faculty of Humanities will eventually work in the field of science, it is scientifical skills like critical reading, writing and presentation that will prepare them for the labour market. TOF believes it does not make sense for most of the curricula in our faculty to be based on the labour market, since students simply are not prepared for a certain job (with the exception of some dual master programmes) and therefore would learn more from basic skills of critical thinking.
Course coordinators must have the freedom to make decisions about education, such as the content of courses and examination.
The teacher knows best what a good quality course should look like and is therefore allowed to fill in courses for this purpose. Of course as long as programme committees can influence such decisions with the feedback.
The UvA should invest more in supporting the mental health of students.
Problems with mental health are becoming more common. Because some of these problems are caused by the high workload that students feel at the UvA, TOF believes that the UvA should also take responsibility for this. Students should be able to know where to go in time with their problems. There should be more study advisors, a better tutory program and more student psychologists.
Diversity quota and registration of ethnicity should be part of the Diversity policy of the UvA
TOF believes in the use of quota to ensure diversity, but has doubts around the registration of ethnicity. Registering ethnicity can be an infringement of privacy and should therefore be treated carefully.
Students wishing to take honours courses should be able to do so based on their motivation, regardless of their grades.
A grade average says too little about a student to be allowed to serve as the basis for exclusion from honors courses, TOF believes that a student's motivation says much more about the chances of completing the honors program.
Student parties that receive any kind of support from external parties, such as national political parties or companies, should be excluded from participating in the student council elections.
Since our university is an educational institution in the first place, it is up to the student councils to ensure good quality education. TOF believes that no other interests are allowed to play a part in the decisions a council makes. To ensure that a council is solely about the education at our University and not about establishing other political goals, TOF is of the opinion that student parties that are supported by external parties should not have the chance to participate in the elections.
Vegan or vegetarian food - with optional meat options - should be the standard in the canteen, so the University can lead the example in terms of sustainability.
We cannot claim to be sustainable if meat remains the standard. The bio-industry is one of the biggest polluters on earth: as the UvA we are responsible for more pollution by eating than the emissions of our buildings.
The Rector Magnificus and deans must be (directly) elected by students and staff.
Though this is an ongoing discussion within TOF, we think that the best possible candidate should become dean or rector, and that is not always the most popular one. We think that these positions should be filled by a person that is selected by a committee in which all voices are represented; that of researchers and students, but also program directors and facilitating staff. However, TOF does think that the voices of the students should be better represented. Instead of one student (and nine staff members), at least two students should have a seat in these committees. More energy should also be invested in making sure that these committees are a good representation of our diverse faculty."
The Binding Study Advice (BSA) should be abolished.
The BSA is a measure that excludes students from a study based on a meaningless indication (the number of credits in the first year), therefore TOF wants to abolish the BSA and switch to a non-binding recommendation.
Students and researchers must be able to conduct research on everything, even if it is against current values and norms.
TOF believes that scientists should be free to do research on everything, as long as it is done within the boundaries set by the law.
Members of a Programme Committee (a representative advisory body of the individual study programmes) should be elected by the group they represent.
The programme committee is a representative advisory body. Due to the expansion of rights granted to OCs, they are now expected to represent teachers and students of their respective programmes. TOF thinks that the election of Programme Committees will motivate the members to listen to students and perform its tasks to their standards. For this reason, TOF advocates resolving the practical difficulties regarding the election of OC-members as quickly as possible. Although elections are preferred, practice has shown that there is often not enough enthusiasm among aspiring OC student members to participate in elections, which leads to vacancies in OCs. TOF therefore believes that OCs should also be filled with enough student members who are qualified (if there have been no elections). OCs that are not elected should pay more attention to involving the students and teachers from their programmes. The Faculty Student Council and the Faculty Board can help OCs to establish contact with their supporters.
The University is internationalising too quickly.
Internationalisation became a trend in the Netherlands to attract more students, concluding in a search for more profit. We believe it is beneficial for both Faculty and the University to have international classrooms and Verengelsing can be done when it is found necessary by the programme committee. However, the current strategy of UvA with establishing English programmes to attract more international students, and indirectly more profit, is inhumane both for international students and the programme. Internationalisation puts a lot of pressure on programmes and they should not be rushed with their process of change in language of instruction as verengelsing does not mean internationalization. Moreover, It is known that there is a large shortage of student housing in Amsterdam. Although it is even more difficult for international students to find a room, international recruitment is still done by UvA. The promotion is not realistic: when international students come to Amsterdam, it is often not as promised. TOF believes that the university should stop working with international recruitment agencies as long as the housing shortage has not been resolved and accessibility of the faculty is improved for everyone as important documents are only in Dutch.
The University must invest more in sustainability.
For TOF, sustainability should be a driving force in all UvA policy and should therefore be given a higher priority both at faculty and at central level. The need to become more sustainable is becoming increasingly important and there is not a single person or institution that can escape it. This is why we must strive for a more sustainable UvA on all fronts: the buildings, the canteen, the trips to conferences and the UvA's investments all should be reviewed.
Student psychologists should be available at each campus
As a decentral party TOF believes student psychologists should be available at every faculty.Moreover, the presence of student psychologists at every faculty and thus every campus increases the overall accessibility of this support.
The University must prioritize active diversification, including decolonisation, as mentioned in the 2016 Diversity Report.
TOF is of the opinion that the recommendations of the diversity committee must be adopted in its entirety. In practice, the suggestions of the 2016 diversity rapport often remain ideals. TOF therefore believes that practical steps must be taken and that an active role of the UvA is essential to do so. In addition, TOF believes that diversity in knowledge and people go hand in hand: if the curriculum becomes inclusive, it will attract a more diverse population.