Organising BAIS

The BA programme of International Studies is the largest programme at the Humanities Faculty of Leiden University. Because of the large student numbers and the multiple institutes involved in the programme, the programme relies on a stable team of lecturers - called tutors - to teach small group seminars.

In April 2018, tutors of the programme protested against casual contracts and structural unpaid overwork in a meeting with the Faculty Board. The Faculty Board responded after several months that they had to follow university hiring policy which stipulated that docent-4 positions without research time should not be hired on permanent contract.

While the programme board of the BA International Studies together with the Faculty Board of Humanities managed to convince the CvB that some stability was necessary, the few permanent contracts that were secured were all presented as exceptional favours to the rule.

Since April 2020, a group of tutors at the BA International Studies under the name of OrganisingBAIS has been writing to the CvB to call for a structural change in central hiring policy. They call upon the executive board to acknowledge that docent-4 positions are already a fundamental part of how Leiden University organizes education at larger programmes. Leiden University should therefore stop replacing staff for these vital positions every several years for no other reason than the pretense of research-driven teaching only. The demands by OrganisingBAIS have been twofold:

1) To end the policy that only lecturers with research time can be hired on a permanent contract. To offer all lecturers a permanent contract except for approximately 20% hired on replacement or to accomodate peaks in student numbers.

2) To create viable career paths and professional development opportunities for lecturers with docent-4 positions.

Please read the full epistolary exchange here. The CvB has not been willing to meet representatives of OrganisingBAIS yet. They have arranged a meeting with the Faculty Board instead, as well as a meeting with the head of HR.

OrganisingBAIS has repeatedly campaigned against the lay-off of dedicated and experienced colleagues for positions that had to be filled by new hirings under the hashtags #staffshouldstay and #koesterdedocent.

One of their colleagues has sued Leiden University for changing the end date of his contract only to avoid offering a permanent contract.

Since fall 2020, several representatives of OrganisingBAIS joined Casual Leiden to seek alliances with casual staff at other programmes and faculties.

Image © Bas van der Schot @bvdschot