Roel Pieterman

What characterizes you?

I am a straight forward kind of guy. I am also more steady than fast. Both my grandfathers were tug masters. They had to lead big ships with their small boats into the harbor. That requires agility and patience and apparently I got something out of it. Things don't go fast for me, but I do get where I need to go.

When did you first hear about VAWO?

Pooh, that was a while ago, it must have been in the nineties. A colleague advised me, but I was already a member of another union. To me it’s obvious that if you find a job, you become a member of a trade union. But when they started campaigning with jackets, caps and whistles, I left. I don't think that fits so well in academia. After that I didn't feel the need to become a member somewhere else. That changed ten years later, when I was threatened with dismissal. So I ended up at the VAWO and I can say: I really feel at home there. First I worked for years as a local representative of the VAWO at Erasmus University and now I am chairman as well.

What makes VAWO different from other trade unions?

 That it really is a union for and by people working in academia. It is the knowledge from within, the firsthand experience and therefore also the involvement. What also appeals to me is the motivation to improve the academic world. As a local representative I always choose the constructive approach, even in difficult situations. And I like the fact that this is not only my working method, but that I see it across the board at VAWO. I am convinced that this contributes to improving individual and collective situations.

What are you most proud of in your academic work?

Of well-founded debunking of policy, involving a critically review of the policy both in the sense of underpinning a problem analysis and in the sense of the solution. Are they effective? Are they feasible? Have the disadvantages of the solution been considered? It strikes me that this rarely happens. What you see when a problem is recognized is that a narrow view arises. That results in a simplification of the problem and then a simple solution. An example: global warming is caused by CO2. Solution: stop CO2. But in the light of something as complex as weather systems over decades around the world, you can't reduce that to just CO2. Yet this is often standard policy and what I am good at is to denounce that. Although that is not always appreciated. It usually leads to disbelief among non-experts. Also those who do have the knowledge, prefer to keep you silent or vilify your message.

For what will you fight?

For injustice. I can't stand it when things are unfair. Again an example: At my faculty, I have a colleague who started as an academic, but halfway through stopped working on the thesis. This person turned out to be a true organizational talent and was hired at the EUR in education with organizational tasks. But because someone has not obtained a doctorate, the salary remains lower. I find that absolutely unreasonable. And so I will try to make sure that this is corrected.

How do we see you outside the VAWO?

I love music performances, cabaret, film and theatre. You can often find me there. Also because I am a volunteer at a foundation that ‘celebrates life’. Then you accompany the elderly to a theatre performance and bring them home afterwards. Soon I get to accompany another group and that makes me really happy. And furthermore, you can spot me out in the open with my camera in my hands.

Marijtje Jongsma

I am a straight forward kind of guy. I am also more steady than fast. Both my grandfathers were tug masters. They had to lead big ships with their small boats into the harbor. That requires agility and patience and apparently I got something out of it. Things don’t go fast for me, but I do get where I need to go.

Roel Pieterman

I am a straight forward kind of guy. I am also more steady than fast. Both my grandfathers were tug masters. They had to lead big ships with their small boats into the harbor. That requires agility and patience and apparently I got something out of it. Things don’t go fast for me, but I do get where I need to go.

Donald Pechler

I think I always look for nuance. So when someone says something, I first wonder what the other side of that story is. Perhaps that causes some people to think I may be a little reserved, but what I say isn’t necessarily the same as what someone else experiences. I think it’s important to take this into account.

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