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It is election time at the University of Copenhagen! Here is your guide to what it is about, what you can vote for, who can be candidates and how you can vote
Time to exercise your democratic rights and elect representatives. But what is the, what-cha-ma-call-it, Board … and the Academic Councils? Worry not – the University Post is here to tell you all about it.
This is the University of Copenhagen’s (UCPH) senior authority, responsible for the university budget and strategy etc. Most noticeably, the Board is responsible for hiring the University’s top man, the Rector.
The Board consists of 11 members, five of which are elected by staff and students. The technical-administrative staff (the so-called TAP’s) have one representative on the Board, while the scientific staff (the VIP’s, which in Danish really means ‘Scientific Staff’, and not ‘Very Important Persons’) and the students have two each.
TAP and VIP representatives are elected for a four-year period and are allowed to stay in office for up to eight years. The student reps are elected for two years with a max period of four years. One student rep is elected each year.
One of the parties or factions running for election, the Student Council, currently has both seats. This is because the university elections are a first-past-the-post system. And as one seat is up for the vote each year, they always get the seat. Alternatives to the Student Council – like Conservative Students, Progressive Agenda and Frit Forum – have so far not collectively or individually – been able to muster enough votes to topple the Student Council monopoly of Board power.
The Student Council does not, however, conceive of itself as a monopolist of power, that keeps out other representatives and viewpoints. Like a trade union, it claims to represent all its members – in this case all the students.
Each faculty of the University has an Academic Council, advising the Deans (the heads of faculties) on funding, research, education and strategy.
The Councils are responsible for offering PhD’s and doctorates, as well as recommending people to the committees that appoint lecturers and professors.
The Councils consist of students and VIP’s, elected in a 1:2 ratio. A minimum of two TAP’s are also elected as observers. These and the VIP reps are elected for a three-year period. Student reps are elected for one year only.
The Study Boards are found in each of UCPH’s Departments and are there to help put curriculums together, develop new ways of teaching and decide which exam types are to be used for the different subjects.
The Study Boards also affect student life in general: They take care of applications for extensions (whether for illness or lateness etc.) and merit transfers for students who have done internships or studied abroad.
The Deans at the different Faculties decide the amount of members on each Study Board. They do, however, require a minimum of four and a maximum of ten members, made up of an equal number of students and VIP’s for one- and three-year periods respectively.
Like the Faculties each have their own Academic Council, they also have local PhD Committees, each of which deal with (you guessed it!) PhD-related matters.
Among other things, the Committees approve PhD courses and advise the Head of the PhD Section on course structure.
The Committees consist of 4-14 members made up of an equal amount of VIP’s and PhD students from the relevant Faculty. The chairman is a VIP and the deputy a PhD student.
VIP reps can stay on for three years and PhD students for one year only, so PhD students elect their representatives annually. This year, VIP’s are elected for the PhD Committees at the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Theology.
The Department Councils are newcomers on the UCPH democracy scene – an advisory body in and for each department. The councils consist of 6-12 members made up of VIP’s, TAP’s and students.
The first Department Council election took place in March 2013. At the election in November, only the students are choosing new reps.
You can vote from your couch with the university electronic voting system. Click on this link here and a further link will be available for electronic voting during the actual balloting period from 25 November.
There is a website dedicated specially for the elections, which has all the information in English and Danish, including a short film on the election’s history.
The UCPH election site doesn’t have much information about the candidates. This is where we at the University Post try to help out! We have information from some of the top candidates in this election section, and you will find links to them to the right of this article. Danish-language site Uniavisen.dk has more material from some of the other candidates in some of the smaller contests.
If you are a candidate we we wish you a happy campaign! As for all other University of Copenhagen students and staff, happy voting!
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