City & UniversityOpinion & Debate

Six-foot student life: About the Culture of Dialogue

Dear reader. As you might have noticed, I have been elected as a student representative in the University Council. Therefore, the upcoming columns might contain an incidental opinion on the university’s policy; an administrative remark or a political memoir, in addition to the high-quality socially relevant content you are used to. For that, I’m sorry.

In the University Council debate on the 17th of September, UG-chairperson Jouke de Vries started with a moral appeal to students. ‘The amount of corona infections is rising, it is of the greatest importance to stick to the measures’ he said. Rector Cisca Wijmenga added that the students should develop a ‘Culture of Dialogue’, in which students should remind each other of the measures. Contrary to other cities, Groninger students allegedly have fewer sense of responsibility than those in other cities.

With that remark, the efforts of all 200 student boards in Groningen would be misunderstood. After all, since the re-opening of the student pubs there has never been more control by student board members on alcohol abuse and the enforcement of the corona measures. The fuss that is caused by the student associations with a couple of infections, is therefore completely wrong and runs counter to observable reality.

When an incidental infection occurs, student board members do everything they can to notify other possibly involved students as fast as possible. This leads to telephone sessions up to midnight. Moreover, most incidental infections have zero to no connection to the student association, as only 1 (out of 200!) associations has been declared as a possible point of origin by the Municipal Health Services (GGD) – The association question quite surprised me, as I was of the understanding that all their members should keep at least 6 feet of distance until marriage.

But if the Board of the University wants a Culture of Dialogue, they can get it. Because, when students are arrogant enough to organise house parties during a pandemic. They sure must have the balls to remind each other of the corona measures. Or do they need a couple drinks for that as well? It is very easy, stick to the emergency degree and enjoy your controlled freedom in a student pub. Because with those blatant house parties, you actively risk the closing of your beloved student association and thereby the loss of control over the infection rate.

However, to the Board of the University I must give profit warning as well. Whoever is without sin, shall cast the first stone. For as far as you have not sinned already.