The system of student participation in the university’s management has changed a lot over the past decades. This section describes how the student participation began, how the Organisation of RAtional Students was rounded and how the system has changed during our existence.
Occupation of ‘Het Maagdenhuis’
In the early 60’s of the previous century, students had no say whatsoever in the decision-making at the then called Institute of Technology in Delft. All the rules and regulations were created by the teachers and staff and students should just do as they are told. The students were obviously in discontent and as the decade progressed, more and more demonstrations were held to appose the system.
The up-rise was concluded by the occupation of ‘Het Maagdenhuis’. Over 700 students joined together in a strike, occupying ‘het maagdenhuis’ in Amsterdam. The goal was to change the current system of higher education and introduce a more democratic system where students had a say in determining the form and content of their study. The police locked down the building for over five days, hoping that the students would give up due to starvation or thirst, but, as clever as they were, the students managed to smuggle in food and supplies by creating an air-bridge to the library.rary.
At 9 AM on the 21st of May 1969 the police brutally ended the occupation. However, the message that the students wanted to send out was clear. One year later student participation on the higher education policy was recorded in national law.
Act of Administrative Reform(WUB) in 1970 and the Student Centrum Groep (SCG)
After the Occupation of ‘Het Maagdenhuis’, an amendment was made to the national law on higher education. This resulted in the following board structure at the Institute of Technology in Delft:
- The University Council, consisting of 1/3 students, 1/3 academic staff and 1/3 supporting staff
- The Executive Board, executing the decisions made by the University Council.
Through the years, more and more parties within the council started to form. On september 15th in 1973 the party ‘Centrum Groep’ was founded to be a counterpart to the already existing ‘Afdeling Actie Groepen'(AAG). Later, in 1975, the Centrum Groep was renamed to Student Centrum Groep(SCG).
As the time progressed, it became clear that the system, introduced in 1970, was inefficient and unwieldy. Additionally, amendments to the Act of Administrative Reform, gave the Executive Board more influence and power, creating a discontent in the University Council. This resulted in a lot of frustrations between council members and the Council and the Executive Board.
Founding of ORAS
In 1989 SCG started losing votes and eventually ended up with only 4 seats on the council. In that period, the most of the party’s occupation consisted of organisational aspects. Promotion, organizing the political campaign and finding successors took most of the effort leaving only little time for the political tasks. Fortuntately, an Intertim Board, lead by Ludo Bergkamp, investigated what had to change. They introduces a board and a political association that could concern themselves with party affairs, allowing the council faction to focus on their political obligations. To emphasize these changes, the name of the party changed to the Organisation of RAtional Students (ORAS).
University Government Modernisation Act
In the late nineties, the national government considered the ability of dutch universities to act as insufficient en ineffective. Therefore, the University Government Modernisation Act(MUB) was introduced. This changed the administrative organisation drastically : the Executive Board became the governmental body of the organisation and the University Council was split up into the Works Council, representing both the academic and the support staff, and the Student Council. The role of the Council changed from governing to participation in decision-making. This structure is maintained up to this day. The Technical University of Delft still works with a (part-time) Works Council, and a (full-time) Student Council
The downfall of AAG and the foundation of a new Student Council Party
Around 2008, the situation for ORAS was very successful. However, the situation for the other party, AAG, went from bad to worse. With only 2 or 3 seats on the council, AAG faced the same issues as SGC had in 1989, and finally they decided not to participate in the elections in 2008. The party used next year to reorganize and prepare for the elections of 2009.
The Student Union ‘VSSD’ therefore decided to set up the party ‘Het Principe’, based on the idea that there must be at least two parties in a democratic party system. That year, Het Principe got 2 seats.
In 2009, AAG rejoined the elections. Unfortunately, they once again ended up with 2 seats. The party decided to complete in the year, but not to run the next year. Therefore, the Student Council of 2010/2011 consisted solely of ORAS members. During that year, the council put a lot of effort in encouraging students to create a new party. By spreading a lot of controversial statements and strongly profiling the vision of ORAS, the council hoped to find students that would disagree with the posed statements and that a new party would emerge and they succeeded. As a result, the party Lijst Bèta was founded in the spring of 2011.
The Elections of 2011 and after
Since 2011, the council consists once again of two parties. ORAS and Lijst Bèta. During the elections of 2011, ORAS got 7 out of 10 seats and the year after, they lost one seat. Fortunately, the year after, in 2013, the seat was re-won and since then (2013-2018), the division of seats has been the same: 7 seats for ORAS and 3 for Lijst Bèta.
To see who are on the council in behalf of ORAS this year (2017-2018), Click here!