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Students drowning in Science faculty chaos

Excessive bureaucracy at the Faculty of Science is interfering with students' studies and has – in one case – lost them student grants

Students at the Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen (UCPH) are being plagued by lost applications and long process times, reports the Danish-language site

The Faculty of Science has been facing a complex administrative jigsaw puzzle after two of its constituent faculties were last year merged into one. While the Faculty’s administration says it is taking measures to improve its service, the list of problems it is having to tackle is extensive:

“When it takes six weeks to receive a simple reply stating that the email has to be forwarded elsewhere, it’s not hard to imagine how a student feels when having to deal with the administration,” says Søren Skotte Bjerregaard, a student of Agricultural Economics.

Two years to get a diploma

Another seemingly simple problem is receiving a Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma – students are having to wait a year, or more, to receive a correct and usable proof of their degree. This causes problems on the job market or when applying for further education.

“Time and time again my mails aren’t answered. I have received faulty versions of my Bachelor’s diploma with the wrong titles. I have been told that my diploma has been sent to another address than the one I had given. My case has been dealt with by five people, all of whom have had something different to say regarding my diploma. And it has given me a lot of trouble with applications for further education,” says Silas Boye Nissen, a physics student.

Biology student Ane Elise Schrøder still hasn’t received hers after “11 personal calls and several e-mails”. It has taken her 23 months so far.

Faculty: Our service has to improve

The Faculty’s processing times and errors have had financial implications for its students. Ejnar Håkonsen and one of his fellow Datalogy students have had their Bachelor diploma’s dated incorrectly, and have therefore had to pay unwarranted recall payments from SU, the Danish student grantfunding body.

And Sally Winther, after taking a semester in Canada, found that she had been registered as ‘living with her parents’, and was therefore fined for roughly two-thirds of her student grant. This was sorted out, but red tape meant that she had to pay the recalled amount before it was returned to her at a later date.

“We agree with the criticism – our service has to improve” says Faculty Director Marianne Rønnebæk in response to the complaints.

New dialogue forum

“After the merger we have had to create a brand new structure for the Faculty, and a framework, rules of conduct and routines have had to be implemented. Now that the organisation is in place, we will focus on our service to everyone’s benefit,” says Marianne Rønnebæk.

The Faculty says it has a new initiative – a dialogue forum that includes four students.

“We have agreed with our students that they will inform us of any problems whatsoever, and that we will hear of problems as and when they arise,” says Henrik Busch, Associate Dean for Bsc Programmes at Science.

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