University Council votes against cameras: ‘This is invasive, disproportionate and has to go’
On Monday afternoon, the University Council voted against the reactivation of the smart cameras. None of the parties in the Council meeting was in favour of reactivating the counting system in the manner proposed by the Executive Board.
Mark Reid
Wednesday 1 February 2023

In its preliminary advice based on the committee meeting of 23 January, the Council proposed that the cameras initially be switched on at just a few locations, by way of a pilot.  However, the majority of the Council seemed to have backed away from the idea for a test phase in the past week. A vast majority now wants to get rid of the cameras altogether.

Concerns about the system’s fundamental privacy issues proved serious enough for the entire staff delegation to unanimously vote against the reactivation. Patrick Klaassen of Universitair Belang called the classroom scanners ‘invasive and disproportionate’. He summarized his point succinctly: ‘This has to go.’

Moreover, several Council members criticised the Executive Board’s unclear communication on the matter over the past years. According to Liza Koppes of LVS, the Board showed no understanding whatsoever for the distrust felt in the university community.


Joanne van Sloof of CSL took a step further and said that the Board was too casual in dismissing the complaints of students and staff, and that this constituted ‘mismanagement’.

Board president Annetje Ottow reportedly promised to abide by a negative advice

Bram Leferink op Reinink of student party ONS was among the few who were still willing to give the cameras a chance. According to him, privacy seemed to be safeguarded under the proposed conditions. He also wanted to wait for further investigation before having the cameras removed.


‘I want us to still be able to use these cameras if it turns out later on that none of the alternatives work properly’, said Leferink op Reinink.

Timothy de Zeeuw of staff party LAG saw no benefit in any further investigation. ‘This matter has been going on for two years now and the arguments haven’t changed. If the Board wasn’t able to convince me in those two years, it’s not going to do so in the next five years.’

The University Council’s negative advice to the Executive Board is not binding but Board president Annetje Ottow reportedly promised during a consultation meeting with Council members to abide by a negative advice, said Chair of the University Council Bas Knapp during Monday's meeting.

On 13 February, the Council will officially present the advice during its consultation with the Executive Board.