No change in short-stay contracts: ‘We are not yet done talking’
The terms of SSH&’s short-stay contracts will not be changing anytime soon. This is clear from answers made by the board of Mayor and Aldermen to questions posed by PvdA Nijmegen. Despite criticism, Radboud University also does not see an immediate need for changes.
Contracts last only one year; they can’t be cancelled before the term is up; rooms may not be sublet: international students feel they are seriously disadvantaged by the rules of the SSH&’s short-stay contracts. Student parties AKKUraatd and asap, as well as several international students think it is time for different rules.
PvdA Nijmegen identified the same problem earlier. On November 5, the party submitted written inquiries regarding the matter to the municipal council. Among other issues, the PvdA called attention to the vulnerability of international students and called on the city council to intervene.
But from the board’s answers can now be gleaned that a change in the contracts is not in the cards, if the city administration has any say. ‘We do not think it is undesirable that rooms with one-year contracts are rented to exchange students who will be studying here for a short period’, as stated in the public letter from the Board, addressed towards the PvdA.
Student Mika Kraft is very disappointed; he submitted the inquiries as party member of the PvdA, together with party leader Charlotte Brand. ‘It’s a shame, because with these contracts international students are still falling through the cracks’, says Kraft, who also happens to be a student of cultural anthropology. ‘In our view, the policy needs to be better adapted.’
‘We will justify our stance that this needs to be discussed further’
The board has indicated that the municipal administration, SSH& and the higher education institutions are in discussion about the contracts. According to Kraft that is all well and good, but: ‘I get the sense that the priorities in those discussions are all wrong. I can infer from the board’s response that they’re mainly concerned with increasing the number of rooms on offer. That is necessary as well, but right now we need a clear plan to tackle the issues surrounding temporary contracts.’
Putting it on the Agenda
Earlier, SSH& already announced that they had no intention of making changes to the contracts in the short term. Radboud University also did not think making changes to the contracts was absolutely necessary, after having received complaints from international students. A spokesperson for the University did indicate that they will have a conversation with the municipality about the housing crisis among students, but they could not elaborate on the matter of temporary contracts.
What is next? According to Kraft, the PvdA will be putting their questions on the agenda. ‘That means that we will justify our stance that this needs to be discussed further. After that, there will be another round of talks with the board of Mayor and Aldermen and the other parties to discuss the matter. That won’t happen until February, but in the meantime – we will keep at it. We are not yet done talking.’