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Aukje van Hoek, professor of private international law, has been appointed to the UvA Senate for a three-year term. Her predecessor in that function was Adrienne de Moor. Aukje van Hoek answers ‘Five questions about the Senate’.

What exactly is the Senate?

‘The Senate is a group of professors who advise the Executive Board on UvA policy, both on request and at their own initiative. Unlike the Works Council, the Senate is not a statutory representative body.’

How did you become a member?

‘Professors are invited and nominated by their dean. I was given no specific explanation for why I was chosen, but the position is in keeping with my activities over the past few years: I was the departmental chair for a period of time and participated in debates on democratisation and departmental cutbacks in that capacity. Those activities mainly took place at the law school – it’s fun to be active at the university level now.’

Are you the Amsterdam Law School’s designated representative in the Senate?

‘No, I am a member of the Senate in a private capacity. Issues raised in the Senate concern policy issues of the UvA as a whole such as marketing, collaboration with the VU and the HvA, central research policy, democratisation, general personnel policy, and university accommodations.’

Why do you want to be in the Senate?

‘It is interesting to be involved with the “university as institution”. The various faculties of the UvA are literally miles apart from one another. The central administration is often not directly visible either. I think it is important to contribute to the unity of the UvA and to take part in deliberations on which route it will take.’

What are your goals for the next three years?

‘Cooperation is an important theme. When is collaboration useful and meaningful, and when should the UvA stress its own distinctiveness instead? I am also curious about future developments in the process of democratisation, and in ways to get students and staff involved in such a way that they feel they are being listened to.’