The SOM (Dutch: Studenten Overleg Medezeggenschap)
The Student Consultation on Participation (Dutch acronym: SOM) supports students in participation bodies belonging to universities of applied sciences. Students active in participation partake in dialogues with the Executive Board (Dutch acronym: CvB) tackling issues such as policy, finances and the (quality of) education. For advice, tips or direct support, students can approach the SOM.
The LOF (Dutch: Landelijk Overleg van Fracties)
The foundation Landelijk Overleg van Fracties (acronym: LOF) is a national network composed of university councils, faculty councils, study programme committees and assessors. LOF aims to provide information, organise training sessions and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas. LOF focuses on reinforcing academic participation. Additionally, the LOF communicates good and bad examples of participation to the Hague (Dutch Parliament) in order to ameliorate rights6 of students active in participation. The LOF is related to the LSVb and is in close cooperation with the SOM (Studenten Overleg Medezeggenschap).
The participation helpline
The participation helpline is available on Wednesdays by phone via 030 2304050 and daily via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participation councils of universities of applied sciences and regular universities may consult the Participation helpline of the Dutch Student Union (Dutch acronym: LSVb), the LOF (Dutch: Landelijk Overleg Fracties) and the SOM (Student Overleg Medezeggenschap). The phone number is meant for members of participation councils that need (legal) advice about rights and procedures. Appropriate knowledge about one’s own rights is necessary, as students face very experienced directors that have been ‘in the business’ for years.
The opportunity to appeal to the arbitration committee is an example of a right that the participation council is often not too familiar with. By providing information and guidance, the LSVb aims to lower the threshold for these procedures. Added to that, the participation councils are entitled to a number of new rights. An example of this is the right of consent on the broad outlines of the budget.