The student parliament discussed paid internships and raised other problematic issues

On on Thursday a remote meeting of the Student Parliament of Vytautas Magnus University took place. During it, a description of the procedure for processing personal data and a draft regulation on the activities of dormitory self-government were presented. Parliamentarians raised questions and debates about paid internships, public elections and the current situation of students in Turkey. A new working group on the public canteen has also been approved, which will continue the work of the group of the previous term.

The meeting started with a description of the procedure for processing personal data in the Student Council (SC) of Vytautas Magnus University, which was presented by Gabrielė Šturmaitė, Coordinator of the Public Relations Committee of the VMU Student Council. This document is a necessary part of every organization so that all student data is processed and stored according to regulations. Parliamentarians have proposed a precise retention period. The document has been approved and students will be able to get acquainted with it on the VMU SC website in the near future.

Another item on the agenda of the meeting is the draft regulations for the activities of dormitory self-government, which were presented by the Social Affairs Coordinator of the Student Council Ieva Vengrovskaja. While the document will not be approved by parliament as it is done by the Rector, parliamentarians’ comments, insights and corrections were welcome. During the project, it was decided to change the regulations because they were old and unregulated, and Ieva also mentioned that the Dormitory Council is faced with ignorance of the duties and rights of the members. Parliamentarians also expressed their insights and comments.

Member of Parliament Žygimantas Menčenkovas together with the President of VMU SC Paulius Vaitiekus raised the issue of paid internships at the meeting. The Lithuanian Students’ Union (LSS) conducted a survey on working conditions and practices. More than 93 percent of surveyed students stated that they incurred costs during the internship and they were not funded by anyone. Consideration is being given to students to do paid internships. During the discussion, parliamentarians formed the idea that the implementation of paid internships does not prevent students from performing unpaid internships. By the decision of the Parliament, a working group of 6 members was formed, which will carry out further actions and prepare the final version of the position and proposals for Kaunas City Municipality.

The last years’ issue of the canteen continues. A new working group has been approved by consensus and is continuing on this issue.

Towards the end of the VMU SC Presidential term, Martynas Butkus raised a question and an idea regarding the public election, during which the President would be elected not only at the VMU Student Parliament (as before), but by the votes of students. Such a model would increase students’ interest in SC and youth politics, and the candidates themselves would gain experience in introducing themselves to the entire university academic community. Since the presidential election has already begun, it is during this election that we cannot follow such a model. An informal meeting will be held before the presidential election to discuss this very issue.

Martynas Butkus, Member of the Parliament, shared some information on the current situation about Turkish students. Protests began at a Turkish university more than a month ago. The rector has always been elected by the university community, but this year the rector was not democratically elected, but simply “put” into office. When student protests began, police used physical force against protesters, arrested and even injured students. Protestants from the LGBT community received particular negative attention. Students are looking forward to the support of foreign, especially European countries.  It was issued to submit a resolution by the VMU SC to the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Lithuania. It was decided to take a closer look at the situation first and to postpone the vote on the resolution until Saturday.

The current President of the Student Council Paulius Vaitiekus informs about the announced opportunity to run for the position of the President of the Student Council. Applicants must submit a completed application, cover letter and operational guidelines by 19 February. 6 p.m. VMU SA Board e-mail The Electoral Reporting Conference will be held remotely.

The elections of the Lithuanian Students’ Union are also approaching. We can be glad that one of the candidates is Vytautas Kučinskas, an alumni of VMU SC. He wants to meet with parliament and raise debates on sensitive issues, the exact date is still to be agreed upon.

The meeting was attended by 48 student representatives and 12 guests. The chairman was Daniel Mačichin and the secretary was Matas Čepurna. The next meeting of the student parliament will take place on March 12 during the Electoral-Reporting Conference.

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