– Get involved
The election for both the Student Parliament at the University of Bergen, and the University Board is upon us. Everyone who has paid semester fee to UiB before February 1st, has the right to vote.
The election for both the Student Parliament (SP) at the University of Bergen (UiB), and the University Board is upon us. Everyone who has paid semester fee to UiB before February 1st, has the right to vote, but according to the tenant’s leader at Fantoft, Osei Kontor Dennis, the awareness about the election is low amongst the international students.
– There is low involvement in both the elections and in student politics in general. Personally I didn’t hear about the student parliament until last year, in relation to the protests against shutting down the serving of alcohol at club Fantoft, says Dennis.
The student parliament is the topmost student political body at the University. The SP consists of 25 elected students. Out of these, 19 are elected from student political lists. In addition, all six faculties have one student representative each. This year there are six lists running:
- Blå liste(The Conservative List)
- Det Eneste Reelle Alternativ(DERA) (The Only Real Alternative)
- Grønn liste(The Green List)
- Liberal liste(The Liberal List)
- Sosialdemokratisk liste(The Social Democratic List)
- Venstrealliansen(The Left Alliance)
Out of these six only DERA has translated their party program to English. Osei Kontor Dennis, a Fantoft resident, believes language is the biggest barrier to participation.
– You have to be quite fluent in Norwegian in order to participate in politics, both at a student level and at the national level, and most exchange students are not, says Dennis.
– Our responsibility
According to Tord Lauvland Bjørnevik, a member of Valgstyret (the Election Board), it is in no way the exchange student’s responsibility to learn Norwegian well enough to participate.
– It is our responsibility to include international students, and we haven’t done a good enough job with it so far. Both the lists, and us on the election board, have given too little information in English, and many of the issues that are addressed aren’t ones that concern international students, explains Bjørnevik.
At the same time, more international students on political lists this year compared to last year.
– That’s very positive. It’s important to remember that ten per cent of all students at the university are international students, and it’s vital that their voices are heard, says Bjørnevik.
– Get involved
At the same time as the SP-election, students also have the opportunity to vote for two student representatives on the University Board. It is the University Board’s responsibility to make the final decisions on behalf of the University. The Board decides how UiB spends its money from year to year, as well as the activities of the University and how current matters are to be resolved.
These six candidates are running in the University Board election:
- Kimberly Kleftås
- Marie Nellevine Kalvehagen
- Thea Sofie Jåsund Grastveit
- Hallstein Aadland
- Lars Arne Nilssen
- Magnus B. Nygaard
Dennis encourages all students who have the opportunity, to get involved in politics.
– I encourage all international students and residents at Fantoft to get involved in student politics and elect people who will represent their interest, says Dennis.