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The purpose of the associations within the bodies represented in the Extended Executive Board of the University is to represent the interests of their members concerning university and educational policy. The associations also coordinate the consultation procedures within their representative body and elect the bodies’ representatives on the Board of the University, the Senate, the Extended Executive Board of the University, the permanent committees of the University, the faculty committees and commissions, and the assemblies of the departments and institutes. This ensures that members of the UZH community can exercise their rights to take part in decision-making processes at the University.
Students will continue to be represented by the VSUZH (University of Zurich Student Association), but the other associations will be reorganized. The VAUZ (Association of Non-Professorial Academic Staff of the University of Zurich) will retain its abbreviation but change its full name to the Association of Junior Researchers at the University of Zurich. Senior academics will be grouped into the newly formed Association of Senior Researchers and Teaching Staff (VFFL). Administrative and technical staff will be represented by a new association called V-ATP (Association of Administrative and Technical Staff).
The rights and obligations of UZH and the representative body associations are set out in the relevant performance agreements. While the VSUZH is an independent legal entity, the other three associations will hold the legal status of a private association.
Here are the changes to the other three representative body associations at a glance:
The VAUZ will continue to be organized as a private association. As doctoral students without a university employment contract will now be part of this association, the VAUZ is set to receive around 2,000 new members (an increase of 25%). “We will try to get this new group of members more closely involved in the UZH community, for example by holding regular after-work events,” says Hannah Schoch, co-president of VAUZ.
The association’s relationship to the Executive Board of the University will not change, and its remit is defined in its performance agreement with the University.
The VFFL is still in the process of being founded. “It makes sense to wait until the amendments to the University Act enter into force before the new association is officially formed and board member elections are held,” says Caroline Maake, president of PDV, the previous association representing privatdozents and adjunct professors. “That way, it will become clear who counts as a member. So far we know that unlike with the PDV, representative body members will not automatically be counted as members of the association.” Once the new representative body structure goes into effect, representative body members will receive an email informing them about their options for joining the VFFL. In accordance with the current statutes, there will be no membership fees.
Currently, the VFFL is organized as an ordinary partnership. Caroline Maake and Wolfgang Rother will serve as interim contact persons for this new representative body until the board of the VFFL is elected. For elections to UZH committees and commissions, all members of the senior researcher and teaching staff representative body are eligible to vote, not just members of VFFL .
The Association of Infrastructure Staff (VIP) has changed into the Association of Administrative and Technical Staff (V-ATP). The association continues to be run by a board and an administrative office. The co-presidents of the VIP, Sibylle Dorn and Corinne Mauer, will remain in office as co-presidents of the new organization for now. The statutes provide the option for the establishment of an advisory board to advise the association.
The administrative and technical staff will now have equal say in all committees that have delegates from representative bodies. The ATP will thus be represented in approximately twice as many committees as hitherto. Staff who wish to get involved can put themselves forward for a position in the upcoming elections. “We work closely with the Executive Board,” says Sibylle Dorn. According to Dorn, the relationship with the other three representative bodies is also very productive. “We exchange ideas and align on issues on a regular basis,” she says. “We developed the new e-voting tool together which will be used in the next round of elections, to name one example. And since 2017 we’ve taken turns organizing the representative body talks.
“Persistence is a necessary quality,” says Dorn. The V-ATP will continue to advocate for key issues such as sustainability and an improvement in internal communications. And as was the case with the VIP, keeping an open dialogue is very important to the V-ATP. There is a virtual comment box available on the new V-ATP website. “Everyone is welcome to use it to put forward suggestions and ideas,” says Dorn.