Rotterdam lecturers refusing to submit exam results in protest for better work climate
Nearly 50 lecturers at the Willem de Kooning Academy (WdKA) in Rotterdam are refusing to submit students’ exam results in a strike for a better work climate. They circulated a petition to draw attention to social insecurity at the art academy, looming budget cuts, and poor communication from management, AD reports.
The lecturers call themselves CasualWdKA. They still experience harassment and intimidation from the management despite promises to improve, the lecturers said in their petition. They also worry about announced budget cuts and permanent lecturers’ workloads increasing as fewer temporary contracts got renewed. 282 colleagues and students have signed the petition.
CasualWdKA say they’ve marked their students’ exams but won’t submit the results. The striking lecturers have received emails from the management calling it “unacceptable” that they are victimizing students and threatening disciplinary action, including not renewing contracts.
“We saw this strike as a last resort,” CasualWdKA told AD in an email response to questions. “It is never our intention to harm students who are already struggling. But if we do nothing now, the situation will only get worse. Future and larger actions are possible.”
One lecturer told AD that management is putting a lot of pressure on them. “While we have the right to strike. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the quality of education.”
Ron Bormans, chairman of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, which covers the WdKA, confirmed that they’d emailed the lecturers to point out the consequences of not submitting grades - an obligation under the Education and Examination Regulations. One consequence could be contracts not getting renewed, but Bormans doesn’t consider that a threat. “That would be inappropriate.” He said he invited the lecturers to talk.
Bormans denied that the management wasn’t listening to the lecturers. “Something is really going on at WdKA. I do not deny that. But we are working hard on a solution,” he told AD. “We regularly hold meetings in which we talk to lecturers and staff and involve them in future decisions. But, all dissatisfaction will not disappear tomorrow. That takes time, and we ask for space for that.”
According to Bormans, the entire University of Applied Sciences faces budget cuts, and WdKA is getting off lighter than other departments. “We cannot rule out the possibility that the workload will increase in individual cases, but we will do everything we can to ensure that education is guaranteed for the students.”