Campus 16 December 2021

Face masks divide participation

The Works Council would like to make face masks compulsory in the lecture halls on the VU campus, but the University Student Council thinks otherwise, according to the executive board.

The Works Council wants VU to take stricter corona measures on campus. For example, they would like to see a face mask requirement in the lecture halls, or at least room for teachers to ask their students to wear a mask in the lecture halls.

Yesterday, several Works Council members discussed it with board member Marcel Nollen in a meeting with the Executive Board. The latter said he was reluctant to deviate from government policy, but Constitutional Law lecturer Adriaan Overbeeke pointed out that the universities are free to take additional measures. “That is not a deviation from the guidelines”, said Overbeeke.

According to economics teacher Sabine Go, VU has a duty to "stand up for the weak, and I don't just mean the teachers by that, there are also vulnerable students who feel unsafe."

Seventeen million epidemiologists

Nollen believes that VU Amsterdam is doing well in terms of corona policy. “We are already going beyond the official guidelines”, he said. “Our door policy is different, there are stewards walking around who approach people who do not comply with the measures in a very professional way.”

But with all these different opinions, it is simply not possible to keep everyone happy all the time. “We have 17 million epidemiologists in the Netherlands, and we think we should rely on what the real experts say.”

Broad support

But the Works Council was not convinced by that. Nollen assured the council that the air quality in the lecture halls is monitored "periodically", but he met skepticism within the council. “I see that there is broad support in the Works Council for a mask obligation in the lecture hall, but the University Student Council thinks differently about this”, he revealed.

Overbeeke therefore wants "immediate consultation" with the student council. “Consultations are always good”, said Nollen. “After all, that's what we're a community for.”

Peter Breedveld
IMAGE: Unsplash


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