Rented space

Last spring the University Board launched a plan to havefaculties and university services pay rent for the spaces they use.To pay for this, the users of space will each receive aproportional share of the current housing budget. The Board hopesthis will make users manage available spaces more efficiently. Theprofligate user will be out of pocket, the judicious user will savemoney. The Board can now go on to work out the details of the plan.However, the University Council last Tuesday decided to postponethe starting date to January 2001. The Council voiced aconsiderable number of criticisms, as did the Deans and the FacultyDirectors, of the Board's proposed formula for the calculation ofrentals.


The research institutes of the NWO national researchorganization have fulfilled their main ambition: to reach the top.Five out of the seven NWO-institutes came into this categoryaccording to assessments by international committees. NWO not onlydivides the available research funds among the universities, italso manages its own institutes. This dual role has been a point ofdiscussion over the past few years. Former Minister of EducationRitzen in particular was concerned that the impression might becreated that NWO favored its own institutes. In response to thisobjection NWO has adjusted its structures slightly. Hermans, thecurrent minister, thinks the problem has been solved. The UtrechtInstitute for Space Research SRON, among those assessed, evenreceived the designation of 'excellent'.


Last year the majority of university recruits were women. Andyet, men still make the decisions, certainly in the higher academicposts. But, as is shown by figures for the year 1998 published bythe Association of Dutch Universities VSNU, it is precisely thisgroup for which the graying process continues unabated. In thatyear the total university workforce grew by a total of 570full-time posts. The majority of these vacancies were taken up bywomen part-time workers. However, emancipation fails to penetratethe higher echelons of the academic hierarchy. More than sixty percent of the women occupy posts on the lower salary scales. In spiteof a hundred per cent increase since 1990, women full professorsstill only occupy 133 full-time posts; for men the figure is2341.