The system of participation known nowadays has changed over the last 40 years. Below is described how actions and regulations changed participation.
Occupation of the Maagdenhuis
In the early 60s of the previous century, students did not have a say in how decisions were made within the education system. Staff and teachers made all the plans themselves. Towards 1970 there were more demonstrations to give students a say in decision-making at the university. The occupation of the Maagdenhuis was the climax of this period.
Over seven hundred students joined the action to occupy the Maagdenhuis. Students demanded democratising of the higher education system and to have a say about the form and content of their study. During five days the building was locked down by the police. In this way the students were starved, which had to lead to the students abandoning the building. However, students managed to get food and water inside through the Library.
At 9 AM on the 21st of May 1969 the police brutally ended the occupation. However, the message that the students wanted to send out was clear. A year later student participation on the higher education policy was recorded in national law.
Law on the University Administration Reform Act
The law on the University Administration Reform Act, active since 1970, resulted in the following board structure at Delft:
- The University Council consisted of 1/3 students, 1/3 academic staff and 1/3 supporting staff.
- The Executive Board acted on the decisions of the University Council
Because this system was considered as inefficient and unwieldy, the Executive Board was given more and more power by changing the University Administration Reform Act. This resulted in a lot of dissatisfaction between the University Council and the Executive Board, and the University Council internal. This dissatisfaction would calm down in the next few years.
Law on Modernisation of University Administrative Organisation
The national government didn’t think universities in the Netherlands were efficient, which led to the Law on Modernisation of University Administrative Organisation. The administrative organisation changed intensely by this law: the Executive Board became the governmental part of the organisation, while the University Council was split up in the Works Council and the Student Council that needed to function as participation parties. The governmental function of the University Council disappeared completely.
Today, the DUT still works with a Student and a Works Council.
The DUT, as one of the few Dutch universities, had a fulltime Student Council.