The Future of University College Roosevelt: A Response to the Reorientation Plan



I am in full support of the document. The changes were undemocratic, and in my opinion, damaging. I came to UCR to be at a unique place of learning that is true to the Liberal Arts and Science philosophy and values. Unfortunately, I think this reorientation plan is a divergence from the reasons why I came to UCR, and what I believe makes it the beautiful place it was and still has the potential to be.
Marten Moller, Student at University College Roosevelt

Marten Moller (Carvoeiro, 2019-05-03)


I'm signing because I have previously studied at UCR and I do not support the new changes occurring at UCR

Clara Reynolds (Sheffield, 2019-05-03)


I fully identify with the sentiment explained in the document

Leonardo Poggi (Middelburg, 2019-05-03)


I'm signing because I believe that, through democracy, a better future for my university can be achieved.

Andrea Undecimo (Middelburg, 2019-05-03)


This student initiative is relevant to the community issue currently on the table at UCR

David AIKEN (Middelburg, 2019-05-03)


I am signing because I am a deceived UCR student, and wish to restore the LAS values that I signed up for and hope for change toward a better communication in general.

Jil Wengler (Roodt-Syre, 2019-05-03)


I'm signing because I believe in the power of a Liberal Arts and Sciences education in today's day and age. I believe anyone applying for this education deserves the broad perspective they crave, and any limitation of that aspect by the institution is a betrayal to their student body. Especially when the students have already excelled in an environment that did meet their expectations, to have that drastically change with little to no conversation, seems unjust.

Andre Schoenhardt (Boston, 2019-05-03)


I wholeheartedly agree with the petition's message and I believe it is important that it's important to voice discontent with the current direction UCR is taking

Joren Ossewaarde (Leuven, 2019-05-03)


I am in theory, in favour of the current changes being made in UCR and felt that my experience here would have been more fruitful without having to go through the academic core. For example, I had already taken 4 essay writing courses prior to UCR, and I believe that Academic writing should be offered to those who are lacking in basic writing skills. However that being said, I fully support the author's message that UCR is becoming far too output oriented. UCR has become an institution that makes choices based on numbers and easily quantifiable variables. It ignores the more abstract questions that need to be considered and the implications and outcomes of its actions. It has no self-respect as an institution of learning. A University is of course a business, however you can only sacrifice so much in the name of €€€. UCR may be a liberal arts university on paper. However these changes, although reasonable if considered in isolation, are representative of an overall development that the University is taking away from the fundamental values of inter-disciplinary learning. UCR would be far more successful if it emphasised its differences rather than its commonalities and trendiness.

Ben Stromback (Narpes, 2019-05-06)


The way that students can be shaped to artistically express themselves (art defined as all creation through the spirit) will be at stake if the recent decisions on the UCR policies will continue to be realised. I think that the artistic expression of mankind is vital in the survival of our world and hope that UCR can sustain this by all means.

Thomas Jung (Afferden, 2019-05-07)


I would like to ensure incoming students will enjoy the excellent education I received at UCR. The current changes seem to contradict every element that made UCR a place where students are provided a solid base of academic skills, while allowing freedom to compose most of their curriculum. Reconsider.

Cheyenne van der Zanden (Budapest , 2019-05-07)


Not many people know about the liberal arts program at UCR. With more advertising/PR it should be able to attract a much larger number of interested students.

Isabel Moeller (Carvoeiro, 2019-05-08)


In these times, I think that its is very important for our community to listen and take seriously this petition from students. We should all be working to foster and develop what they see as the most valuable task of UCR (and LAS), that of educating 'civically engaged, creative and virtuous individuals' ... The image of 'UCR as a unique haven for people that want to contribute towards a better world and healthier earth' is a dream that we can all share and one that, in my opinion, we should collectively be working for.

Rolando Vazquez (Middelburg, 2019-05-08)


I fully agree with the stances this document takes, and I'm very happy the authors of this document speak for the majority of the student body at UCR.
This is not what we signed up for. Had we wanted a mainstream education, we could have gotten one a lot closer to home.

Milan van Gool (Middelburg, 2019-05-08)


UCR was and I hope will continue to be a place where education is more than a transaction. If we, as a community of students, faculty and alumni, endorse UCR as an educational alternative to other universities, it does not mean that we do not want change. Rather, if in a tight-knit community like this, non-disclosure agreements and other undemocratic and intransparent tools are used to push for a new project, the very underpinnings of UCR are threatened, and we all have the right to call this out. I want to be able to proudly recommend my alma mater to other curious young students who are looking for an education that means more than a bullet point on a CV. At the moment, sadly, that is not the case.

Alina Achenbach (Leuven, 2019-05-08)


Stick it to the man...

Christoph Reinicke (Middelburg, 2019-05-08)


I feel that the proposed changes will not host a good environment for future students. Furthermore, I am concerned about UCR's name and it's recognition as one of its alumni.

Max Lasse Schaefer (Edinburgh, 2019-05-08)


I agree with the document; the university is taking a very undemocratic approach, hides information from its own students, and the choices made for the future of UCR do not represent the future that was promised to students before. The direction it takes limits the Liberal Arts, and thus limits the education of the students.

Emma Weerd (Middelburg, 2019-05-08)


Education in general, and higher education in particular, cannot bring
immediate returns; it is a national investment in the future of new generations. Second, modern
economies do not only require specialized technicians; our societies need citizens with a broad,
general, intellectual training. Third, the evaluation of knowledge and its usefulness should not be conducted in the name of conformity to ruling of the few.

Carolina Sanchez (Rotterdam, 2019-05-08)


I believe that if someone buys a ticket for a trip, has the full right to be brought to destination. This is especially true if that trip can influence your future life

Fabio De Gaetano (Dubai, 2019-05-08)


As a student at RA/UCR I got to enjoy the development of my critical thinking by getting introduced perspectives that I was previously unaware of. These experiences have been foundational to me as a human. I want future generations of students at UCR to enjoy these benefits as well. I feel that the current plan of this administration and the way that it was pushed through is frankly dumb and mean. The administration muzzles its students, and treats them and its faculty like resources to exploit. Following through with the plan to turn the college into half-baked engineering college does not work from the strengths of the institution. I stand in solidarity with the students who wrote this piece, because I want the administration to see that Bildung as it was offered at the college before is priceless. As opposed to the monetization of courses that this reorientaiton plan is realizing. I hope the administration will reconsider its choices and apologizes to the students and the faculty. Regards, alumna of the class of 2014, who majored in anthropology and urban geography (with courses in film&theater, sociology and a minor in literature), continued her education at an art school, then received an MSc in Organic Agriculture and who is now successfully making a life and a living.

Lisa Deijl (Rotterdam, 2019-05-08)


UCR is taking a trajectory reflective of our times: one in which 'the University' no longer means 'the professors and students and the quality of education’, but rather means 'the management, and it’s monetary wealth’. That is a detrimental development for each university that seeks to promote a critical engagement with 'knowledge' (not a static group of facts, but rather a dynamic collection of opinions, observations and perspectives). In this process, critical engagement with decision making, and therefore in this case, with the provision of education and what knowledge is considered important, and therefore, the future of each individual student as well as of our society and especially also the necessary democratic foundation of society, is completely undermined. Students of social sciences have all learned about the workings of power: that knowledge is power, and, more importantly, that 'power' will seek to designate what constitutes knowledge, and what doesn't - a general mechanism for the status quo to uphold itself. This is exactly what UCR is doing: trying to be the denominator of knowledge, assuming it has, as management, the highest bid to tell students what they need or don't need, and what this world needs or doesn't need. Since UCR proclaims to be a LAS college, this is even more outrageous: it is a complete abandonment of the values on which it was (assumingly) built.
The way in which the management has gone about its decision making, as well as the direction it has chosen, show us all that it has no longer its priorities on the quality of education, but the security of its financial status. When such priorities shift, students become numbers, and their unique talents and diverse abilities are no longer offered the means to grow; rather, they disappear in the crowd, not fitting themes and boxes that the university now seems to uphold. This is the opposite of why the majority of students have always chosen UCR as their academic institute, as described in the document which I fully agree with. If UCR's management assumed their staff and students an obedient mass of sheep, instead of students and staff of 'global citizenship' and critical engagement, they might have to brace themselves: we are not. Just as when this systematic educational theft happened at the UvA and other universities, the management can expect nothing short of a rebellion - the only responsible reaction for us to take. The only responsible reaction of the management to take now, is to apologise, and open up a process of collaboration, democratisation, communication towards utter transparency, and the foundational note that what makes a good university is its staff, its students, and its open response to students' wishes, engagements, as well as disagreements. So that students are not only taught to be critical, but the university management also shows this sophisticated level of self reflection. As is stated in the document, this all does NOT mean that a technical department would not be embraced as a potential addition, NOR that change in general is looked against. It means democratic, informed and inclusive decision making, one that could serve as an example amidst the process of capitalisation of our world (we all know what that lead to: environmental collapse), our minds, our bodies; and give the lead towards alternative ways of growing, knowing, relating, becoming, and acting in this world that needs compassionate, democratic and self aware leadership. Change is always needed. So is a humble attitude, and so is a diversity of knowledges, if actual knowing is still what the current management of UCR seeks.

Anna Ziya Geerling (Amsterdam, 2019-05-08)


I am a UCR alumni and now teaching at another university college in the Netherlands. These changes, without input/discussion from staff and students alike, are unacceptable. It goes against what UCR claims to be.

Koen de Reus (Rotterdam, 2019-05-08)


I salute this democratic action of the UCR students to express their choices and their vision.

Esfaindyar Daneshvar (Middelburg, 2019-05-08)


I sign this petition because this document perfectly voices my frustrations and fears regarding the recent changes at UCR.

sanne rossel (Middelburg, 2019-05-08)


I support everything that was stated in this article.

Pascale Geha (Middelburg, 2019-05-08)


My academic and social experiences at UCR guided me into furthering my studies in the education field as a lighthouse of democratic teaching and how critically engaged students are not formed, but nurtured and encouraged. The very aspects of the university that the administration wishes to change, and the manners in which these are being carried through, are opposed to the LAS core philosophy, deceiving to its students and undemocratic. I hereby fully support this document and the current students carrying this petition.

Irene Pena Abellan (Tabanan, 2019-05-09)


Please UCR Management, reconsider what you are doing to the school! Let's stay open for dialogue.

Tsjalline Boorsma (Groningen, 2019-05-09)


I sincerely believe traditional LAS education, interdisciplinarity and critical thinking are crucial in a world in continuous change. We need courageous change makers who are able to address and solve the many societal challenges we are facing now and those that lie ahead.

Beatriz Arlanzon (Middelburg, 2019-05-09)


Going through with the changes that were unprofessionally announced by UCR would only result in stepping away from the philosophy that this university college seeks (or has sought) to embody - the reason why many of us favoured this place over others. I believe that in numbers we have the power of igniting a reconsideration.

Yeni Chantal Yakpo (Middelburg, 2019-05-09)


I agree with the need to conserve humanistic values

Sjef Houppermans ('s-Gravenhage, 2019-05-09)


Ik teken omdat ik huidige en toekomstige studenten aan het Roosevelt college eenzelfde brede en verdiepende opleiding gun als die ik zelf heb genoten.

Hannah Kooy (Utrecht , 2019-05-09)


Ik teken omdat ik juist de vakken binnen de academic Core erg belangrijk vond voor mijn vaardigheden als student en onderzoeker.

Sophie van Zwieten (Utrecht , 2019-05-09)


I am in support of this document collectively created by students. I do not recognize myself in the philosophy UCR is pushing forward.

Dagmar Oosthoek (Middelburg, 2019-05-09)


Het is belangrijk dat alle diciplines met elkaar door elkaar leven, en niet een specialisatie plaatsvind. Roosevelt was JUIST de plek waar specialisatie en monocultuur niet voorkwamen

Rik van Vugt (Hilversum, 2019-05-09)


I wholeheartedly support this petition. As an alumni of UCR I feel future students deserve the experience of a broad, indisciplinairy and high quality education that UCR stands for/used to stand for.

Reinier van der Weele (Uppsala, 2019-05-09)


Looks like the reasons I went to RA are being abolished, which is really a loss for the NL academic world. If a drastic decision like this is being met with this much resistance from core people in your community, it might not be the right decision.

Rebecca Van scheijndel (Amsterdam , 2019-05-09)


As an alumni that loved the small-scale, community-based liberal arts education at UCR, I'm saddened to see the increasingly neoliberal direction the university is developing in. We should fight for educational institutions that resist rather than embrace market-driven logics.

Marike Heesch (07030, 2019-05-10)


This statement contains an exact reflection of what I remember UCR to have been like; a university for people who are willing to think beyond the conventional structures of this world. It is sad and shocking to learn that UCR has started moving in the directly opposite direction, especially since I have gained so much of my personal development and growth thanks to the LAS ideals UCR used to promote

Sterre Klaver (Huizen , 2019-05-10)


I’m signing because I believe UCR has a unique place in social sciences in The Netherlands not only because of top quality academic faculty but because I can see the achievements of UCR graduates just by following my students from the Human Geography track. Social science students are extremely well equipped and in best places, and I am proud of their achievements. I find it a huge pity if all these efforts vanish.

Tuna Tasan-Kok (Amsterdam , 2019-05-10)


Laat de Liberal arts niet vervallen tot het rendementsdenken. Laat de universiteit een plek van vrijdenker zijn in een tijd dat de conservatieve krachten vrijheid aan banden willen leggen.

Jurre Zwart (Wageningen , 2019-05-10)


Ik teken omdat UCR voor mij als Arts & Humanities student heel veel heeft betekend. De passie van professoren aan UCR en hun oprechte interesse in het voeren van discussies en het horen van verschillende perspectieven, is de reden dat ik voor een academische carriere heb gekozen, ondanks het feit dat ik ook aan universiteiten heb gestudeerd waar die passie minder was en praktische zaken en eigen belang een grotere rol speelden. UCR moedigde echt onafhankelijk denken aan en was voor mij het voorbeeld van wat een universiteit hoort te zijn. De Academic Core modules zijn bovendien zo waardevol en wat mij betreft een onmisbaar onderdeel van een Liberal Arts and Sciences opleiding! Ik heb nog dagelijks baat bij de vaardigheden die ik in die vakken heb opgedaan.

Sharon van Dijk (Hertford, 2019-05-10)


I'm signing because as a graduate of a Liberal Arts degree myself (UCM, 2011), I truly learnt to appreciate the interdisciplinary values that LAS instilled in me. Taking this away from the students of UCR because of institutional "reorientation" goes against the value of openness, multidisciplinarity, flexibility and freedom, and thinking outside of boxes and categorization. I would not be where I am now if it were not for LAS - since I simply would not have discovered my current field of work in any other degree program. I trust that a dialogue with students must be held to hear concerns and come up with any future changes in a participatory fashion.

Isabel Wetzel (Nairobi, 2019-05-10)


As an alumnus, I am signing this petition mainly for one reason: in the hope that the UCR community will be heard. Regardless of who is right or wrong, the fact that students and faculty feel deceived and left out from the decision-making process that concerns their future and their successors' future is a sign of bad communication and misconduct. Certainly, the management is aware that there are many ways to improve UCR. Involving the students and professors who are at the heart of this college, listening and enacting on their feedback would be a good start to find a better way, the right way.

Sebastian Guo (Zurich, 2019-05-10)


To maintain the core of liberal arts, interdisciplinariness, is crucial

Julia Van Zijl (Lund, 2019-05-11)


Let's keep university education holistic and develop critical and discerning minds in young people!

Kofi Yakpo (Hong Kong, 2019-05-12)


Regardless of the effect this reorientation plan will have on UCR, the initiative was poorly executed and counter productive to the educational environment.

Ken Gallego (Tokyo , 2019-05-12)


want we niet stom zijn

Dustin Gordon (Berlin, 2019-05-13)


Humanities are important for the future of people and countries.

Elisa Goudriaan (Den Haag, 2019-05-14)


Ik ben het helemaal eens met de punten die ter discussie werden gesteld in de petitie. Ik ben opgelucht dat ik de 'bloeiperiode' van UCR nog mocht meemaken, maar ik zou 't schandalig vinden als volgende lichtingen studenten diezelfde ervaring niet krijgen. Daar kwamen ze immers ook voor.

En laat dat Engineering nou maar eens liggen, daar gaan mensen toch gewoon naar Delft of Eindhoven voor.

Tim Beelen (Raleigh, 2019-05-27)

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