Letter from the University Council

by: in University Council

Dear Members of the UM Community,

The November meeting of the University Council was mainly devoted to conversations about how the university is dealing with tensions in the community related to the horrific events in South West Asia and the university budget for 2024.

Our community
As I mentioned in a previous blog, the University Council always sets time aside for contributions from the community. During our November meeting, four students who have been very active in the Palestinian movement addressed the Council. They presented their position, but also their concern for their freedom of expression and that of staff members, simultaneously stressing that they do not seek to promote antisemitism. The rules of the University Council state that the Council does not respond directly to such statements, but the Executive Board did explain that it is seeking to ensure that tensions in the community do not make people feel unsafe and to facilitate constructive academic dialogue.  This led into a conversation with the Council about how the university is doing so, and how it can pro-actively organise such a dialogue.

Preparing for the new year
As the university prepares for the new calendar year, faculties, service centres and the finance department have been hard at work preparing next year’s budget. In total, the UM expects to spend around €624 Million, which is almost exactly the same as the expected income, resulting in a balanced budget. Of this, about €460 Million will be spent on staff. Next year, the university expects to have around 4,700 Full Time Equivalent of staff (which is the total sum of everyone’s appointment), which means an increase of 190 academic staff members and 75 supporting staff members. For them, over €7 Million will be invested in training and education. The total number of students is expected to rise to about 24,300 and is estimated to continue growing after that, while the university aims to graduate around 400 PhDs a year for the near future. Lastly, the university has about €250 Million in equity, making our financial position strong.

During our meeting members asked questions about all kinds of issues, including:

  • How much money is spent on disability support for staff and students?
  • What impact would potential limitations on the number of foreign students at UM have on the budget?
  • How is the Reward and Recognition program for support staff developing?
  • How much financial support is there for language classes, especially for Dutch courses?
  • How will the university ensure the service centres can keep up with their increasing workload?
  • How will UM Sports be enabled to develop in the future?

The Executive Board will come back to the Council with more information for the Council’s December meetings, culminating in a final vote on the budget. And we will keep discussing important issues, such as the outcome of the Dutch elections, the cooperation with the academic hospital, updates to the ICT facilities, and the further development of the office of the Ombudsperson. I will report on the outcome in my next blog.

Teun Dekker
Chair University Council

  • T.J. Dekker

    Teun J Dekker (1980) is Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Education at University College Maastricht, where he teaches courses on the intersection of the Social Sciences and the Humanities, including History of Political Thought and Distributive Justice in Contemporary Political Philosophy.

    As Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Education, his main duties are: 

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