By Hidde Luchtenbelt
As Covid has cancelled most of public life, students will be rejoiced to hear that the student elections this year will take place without the usual assault of flyers, pens and apples on Harmony square. The parties, however, realized that for co-decisionship to function, it is crucial to find some way to communicate with voters. This is why the Faculty Board was requested to provide the three competing parties some space on the Arts Faculty social platforms.
While the Faculty Board was so generous to grant this request, they added the rather absurd condition that these three campaign messages may not get political. This caused some confusion, as talking about a political party in the context of an election without any reference to actual political content, is besides a complete waste of time for everybody involved, also a rejection of the democratic process that co-decisionship is based on. The main concern of the board is that when potential new students are checking out the socials of their candidate university faculties, they might encounter something resembling a climate of debate and diversity of thought, which of course is to be avoided at all cost. Who would want to study at a faculty that tolerates criticism?
We think that a shift to digital education means that the Faculty ought to try its best to facilitate the democratic process of student elections under these new circumstances. A very reasonable part of that would be to allow for their Facebook page to display three posts that summarize the ideas, vision and plans of the running parties. The Faculty Board however, shows a commitment to sanitize possible signs of critique on their platforms, and only feature neutral slick campaign material that has the outward appearance of democracy without any of its substance.