UG, do something, do anything

UKrant poll about actions taken to combat virus

UG, do something, do anything

The UG should do more than just follow the RIVM guidelines, a large majority of the university feels. Especially internationals say the UG should take extra measures and be more proactive.
By Giulia Fabrizi and Rob Siebelink
13 March om 10:02 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:19 uur.
March 13 at 10:02 AM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:19 PM.

These are the results from an online survey the UKrant held on Thursday afternoon. A total of 519 people participated in the survey, of which 328 were Dutch and 191 were internationals.

Approximately 53 percent of all respondents are seriously worried about the spread of the coronavirus in Groningen, while 35 percent are somewhat worried, and 12 percent says they aren’t concerned at all.

Interestingly enough, internationals seem to be more concerned than Dutch people. Almost seven out of ten internationals are wary about the developments of the past few weeks, as opposed to 44 percent of Dutch respondents.

‘Not very proactive’

Half of the internationals is dissatisfied with the UG’s information service, which they say is spars, difficult to find, and ‘not very proactive’. More than 30 percent of Dutch respondents agree, while half says the university has been responding adequately.

When asked for clarification, it turned out that respondents who are able to understand the Dutch news have fewer complaints about the UG’s information.

‘It’s much easier to inform Dutch students about the outbreak and the situation in the Netherlands, but the information the UG offers to internationals is scant, unorganised, and not always up do date’, one Dutch student writes.

Actions

Internationals and Dutch respondents agree on the question of whether the UG is doing enough to combat the spread of the virus. A vast majority (92 percent of internationals and 73 percent of Dutch respondents) feels the actions taken so far are insufficient or criticise the lack of actions.

Both internationals and Dutch respondents frequently referred to countries such as Italy, where all universities have closed down. Both also repeatedly say the UG is being too passive.

‘Very few employees actually know the university has a crisis response team’, a dissatisfied Dutch staff member writes. ‘Most updates are way too late and staff asking questions barely get a response.’

No plan

People are also unhappy with the apparent lack of plan of attack by the UG. Even the people who understand the UG is just following national guidelines write that the university should still communicate about potential scenarios. What will happen if the university has to close down? What about the exams.

So which measures should the UG take? Most people think online classes are the best option (more than 70 percent), while others think the university should ban gatherings of more than thirty people (60 percent), or that the UG should provide hygiene products like hand sanitiser (60 percent). Many respondents remarked that the UG announced this last measure, but no one has actually seen the promised hand sanitiser appear anywhere.

Close the buildings

Other suggestions from respondents were to close all UG buildings, requiring people to work from home, cancelling exams, and continual cleaning of doorknobs in communal spaces (like cafeterias and the UB).

A few people suggested ‘an end to the scaremongering’ as a solution, as well as the slightly more apocalyptic ‘do nothing, we can’t stop the virus anyway’.

Changed behaviour

Almost every respondent said they’d changed their behaviour in the past few weeks (only fifty people said they hadn’t done anything), with the internationals once again in the majority.

Most people mentioned frequently washing their hands (74 percent of Dutch respondents and 89 percent of internationals), coughing and sneezing into their elbow (68 percent in both groups), avoiding physical contact with others (both groups approximately 60 percent), and avoiding large gatherings (40 percent and 64 percent).

One in ten Dutch respondents said they wouldn’t be attending classes in the near future, while one in five internationals said the same.

This poll was held a few hours before the UG announced drastic actions to combat further spreading of the coronavirus.

Petition by UG students

UG students have started a petition calling on the university to take stricter measures combating the coronavirus. The students are asking the board of directors to no longer wait and to take action now.

In the petition, the students say that so far, the UG has been ‘passive and reactive’.