What – A University Foundation?

What – A University Foundation?

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Some cry, others cheers – but most people are confused. The government suggests that Lund University should be transformed into a foundation. Lundagård gives you clues to how this would affect you as a student.

1. What is that?

In the present situation Lund University is an authority. This means that the government decides about the requirements for such a business. According to the proposal this should be the case even in the future.

On the other hand a university foundation is not an authority, but a juridical person ­– something that would give a higher freedom of action and independence for the university, according to Jan Björklund, Sweden’s Minister for Education.

2. What could be the advantage of this?

Compared to an authority, the foundation has the right to possess their own real estate. Today Lund University pays a rent of around 900 million SEK, while as foundation they would pay only 700 million SEK. The foundation would however not be allowed to be in possession of their own housings.

But as a foundation the university would be able to manage and receive an unlimited number of donations, be the owner of companies and make deals as other juridical persons can do, something they cannot do today.

These changes would, following the proposal outline, simplify international co-operations and according to Vice-Chancellor Per Eriksson this have been a successful solution for prominent universities like Oxford and Cambridge.

3. What would happen with the student influence?

At present the students have the right to influence their education. This is regulated in the Higher Education Act and the University Enactment. What would happen with student influence in a foundation is not clear. The vice president of the Swedish National Union of Students, Erik Pedersen, is raising a finger of caution.

– In the present proposal student influence is written as ought to-formulations, and that the influence mainly would be the same as it is today. This raises questions about why you can’t guarantee that the influence would be at least as good as it’s today, he says.

4. Am I still insured?

State-owned universities and university colleges must today, according to the University Enactment, sign personal liability insurances for every single student through the government authority Kammarkollegiet. In the present proposal for university foundations an insurance like this is no longer a demand, but instead written in a way that every single university would be able to sign such an insurance.

Thomas Wallin, head of Insurance and Risk Management at Kammarkollegiet, is hesitant regarding this eventual development.

– If we would be tested for every single university, it would be very difficult to get both durability and continuity. It is vital for us to know our real basis and assignment. University foundations are not covered by law in cases where students cheat or disturb. In the proposal presented it will be every single foundations responsibility to make guidelines for this, se says.

5. Anything else?

The University Foundation does not cover a case where a student cheats or disturbs. In the proposal presented it will be up to every single foundation to create guidelines for this.

Text: Annika Skogar

Translation: Lars Jansson

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